Losing My Religion/Confusions of a Catholic

Doesn’t seem like that right now, but it’ll all work out somehow.” – Marylou Villegas 

In K-12 Catholic school, we were taught to believe that the best faith was childlike; it operated without question. One truth, one truth. Questions hinted at a doubt, and doubt was dangerous. Inquisitive minds were minds trying to disprove a person of what they believed in, and that was not welcome. Regardless of that, religion had a glow of beauty around it. 

People who were very religious seemed to emanate a certain light. They were calm, happy, and others were drawn to them. They appeared to move easily and confidently through their days. When I was a freshmen in college, I credited my amazing year to the wonderful people I had met and the seniors of campus ministry. I attributed some of the qualities I admired about them to the religion that they practiced. I planned to be them in three years time. The campus ministry senior who would show the freshmen the ropes to all things LMU.

Even in high school, I looked up to my peers and how they exhibited their faith. At times, I wonder about them now. Would I still see the light that I once did or would there be something else in its place? My religion’s got me confused, and I don’t have the interest I once did in being a part of it. 

Firstly, I still believe in a Divine something or other/God. The reason I believe in something having created the Earth is because of the duality present in its nature. It is both complex and simple. There’s no random order to what occurs. The functions of the universe and its inhabitants work so effortlessly. The variety of people and ecosystems present is a work of art. It is awe-inspiring to think about how well-oiled everything is. So, for me, a God, a Divine something, some gods, some goddesses are there somewhere.

Secondly, I prefer Catholicism to overall Christianity, and there are reasons why. I’ve never loved Christianity as I have Catholicism. Same faith, different denomination, but the differences in proposed worldview are stark. Yet, even then, I wasn’t always happy to be Catholic. I loved my school, but Church was a chore. If I had a sleepover the night before, the congregation could definitely catch me sleeping upright in a pew with my best friends. The calm demeanor of the Catholic Church was no match for all of the festivities of the previous night.  Good thing it was only an hour. I began to like Church through high school retreats and when I started going alone and could really concentrate. The music pointed to a Divine being and the second reading was always my favorite.

Yet, the Catholicism of K-12 is not the one that kept me there. My first year of college, a professor of mine named Dr. Susan Abraham, and the Jesuits provided me with the Catholicism that I love.

Dr. Abraham taught me that US Catholicism is really similar to Protestant religions, and it is. Its emphasis is on sin and being saved. She presented us with a different version. Roman Catholicism holds that Jesus has already died on a cross. He’s got us. We’re already saved by virtue of his death and cannot be saved again. That’s redundant. Because he’s already gotten our back, everything in the world has been imbued with that love. Aka a term called sacramentality. Owing from that is a term called materiality. Since everything is imbued with God/Jesus, then everything is special and following a Protestant ethic of eschewing worldly pleasures isn’t needed. Which, ya know, maybe Catholics took and ran with because our Churches are elaborately decorated, which I absolutely love.

What makes my heart soar about Catholicism is: the hymns, the saints and what they represent, the rituals and sacraments (high religion, where ya attt), the stained glass, and the artworks.

About the artwork/images if you will: No, I don’t like the Eurocentric depictions. Religion has been used by white societies to claim their perceived rightful dominance in God’s eyes, and I worry about what damage that has caused on the psyche of the Western and non-Western worlds and the way that we interact with each other- who is subjugated and exalted and who is not. Yet, the strength that is present when communities reclaim portraiture of Jesus and re-image themselves is lovely. Yes, Asian, Afro Latinx, and Black Jesus. Do yaaa thing. My favorite is the Byzantine Christ however, as it’s theologically sound in a Catholic realm. Beyond the Eurocentric depictions, I worry about the reference to God as a male and how my first mental image of an aura that is supposed to beyond the world was of a Santa-esque white man in the sky, flowing beard included. It leads me to wonder what that image has done to how people perceive women or those of non-white descent. I’ve come to prefer the term Divine, even though “God” is engrained in my thought process. That’s one of my issues that draws me away from the religion I have loved and still love in some capacity: the anthropomorphization of God and envisioning of him as a man. This leads me to the main reason why it’s losing my love. 

I’ve begun to question what it took away from the world and the methods by which it did that. In March, I took a trip to Managua, Nicaragua with some other students, and we got a chance to stop by the national museum. While we were there, our tour guide showed us around. In one room, she took a minute to mention how the Spaniards/Europeans came and tried to “civilize” the native Nicaraguans by giving/forcing upon them the Christian religion as if they did not have their own. There’s also a book called “When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away” by Ramón A. Gutiérriez which I have not read yet but the idea seems similar from the title. What did the world lose by Christianizing the people of it? And why is Christianity so concerned with what other people are doing? It’s undeniable that much blood was shed and many rapes occurred in this pursuit of a wider cross. I wonder why it’s so excusable.

I wonder what damage the construct of virginity has done to women’s personal fulfillment and the world as a whole. All of our liberations are tied up with each other. I wonder whose mental illnesses could have been alleviated if suffering wasn’t romanticized to the point that it is and if the higher powers that be were not a sole reliance. That’s appeared as one of the most dangerous things to me in recent years. I can’t speak of other religions because I know the one that I was born into the best, but the emphasis on acceptance and forgiveness and calm that Christianity has now turns me off. Good intentions, but as those tenets apply to this world, it seems to be used to justify people’s life situations and to expect immediate or eventual forgiveness from those whom someone has wronged. For example, the Dylann Roof massacre of the black churchgoers in Charleston, NC. On the news, literally the next day, news reporters were asking the family members if they would extend forgiveness to Roof for the killings. Like, is that a joke. The calmness that seems to arise from religion is something I really used to admire/aspire to/love. But now- I don’t know. It rings of too much silencing. But silencing of certain demographics only. Expectations for people to be sheep to be herded for one’s own purpose and benefit.

Personal worlds have been enriched by Catholicism/Christianity, but there has never been one singular truth to me. I believe that the Divine can have gods and goddesses and spirits working together, and that’s actually always been my thing. I haven’t always believed in Jesus as a half fully Divine person, and I don’t care that Jewish people don’t either. I believe each religion has found a slice of truth. I realize that humans have crafted our religions. We are the ones who have sat here and written down events, tales, stories. We’re the ones who have borrowed from other religions and changed names, places, and faces to suit our own context. We’re the ones who lose things in translation but also the ones who created the original words. So, I guess I’m a bad Christian but a stereotypical Catholic in that the Bible holds no supremacy for me. It’s meant to illuminate and communicate things that human beings have decided upon, but for me, it’s not literal nor historical. It’s Biblical truth; it is it’s own truth.

In addition to wondering what the world has lost at the expense of its gaining, another thing that distances me from loving my religion is how hateful Christians have seemed to me in recent years. Technically, in terms of the history of the world, the past few years and Westboro are not outliers. Christians decided indigenous people, black people, and Asian people were all some form of sub-human/savage and physically wreaked havoc upon them for that. This is a mini tangent, but that’s a reason I take issue with the designation of places as third world/less industrialized/developing. Why do we all need to work towards the same thing? And why is Christian nation extraordinaire The United States supposed to be the ideal for the rest of the world? We have set what we think is the standard, so we get to decide who plays catch up and by extension, who is uncivilized. By our own standards. But why is civilization as we define it so good and the rest of the world so bad? Alright, tangent over. But point somewhere in there is that its the same ideas as when Christianity was killing people, raping people, and forcing people to adapt their religion. Its just different now in the means and method. It appears more benevolent and goes on mission trips instead. It hangs out with children and photo ops it up but doesn’t speak to the adults. It stays in its village but looks upon the rest of the country warily. It gushes about thankfulness and worries about the hopefully life-long impact its making for the days that its there. I’ve wanted to continue to identify with Catholicism but eschew Christianity. I guess that says something about the things we consider dear to us. You want it to stand out and be special and better than its counterparts. But, really, it’s not.

I think many Christians are happy to consider themselves/their values under attack and rally with that, but I can’t.  Christians have now painted themselves as the ones either screaming in your face about how you’re going to hell or how they’ll pray for you under a mask of love but really, it’s just tolerance and that’s not love at all.

I think I sound angry, but really, I’m confused. Because I want to love my cradle religion, but it’s done so much harm, so am I condoning everything it has done and continues to do if I ignore that? These are things that have caused me to question my alliance with the Church. I recognize the benefits of having a church family and worshipping in a set location each week (if you’re not an Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas only kind of Catholic), but where do you go when you start to wonder who that family has excluded in the past and might want to exclude in the future? Who that family only began to see as human once they made them a convert and not a “savage”?

Things like this always lead me to contemplate if ignorance is bliss. On one hand, yeah- because I might still be perfectly content to exist in my religion as is, and as it was, I was very happy with it. On another, no- because do I really love it if I’ve never questioned it? James Baldwin style.

Meeting other Catholics, estranged or not, still strikes a certain familiarity in me. Seeing a gorgeous cathedral or elements of Catholicism in people’s homes makes me feel content. The worldview of Catholicism is one I love, but I guess I just have to decide what I want to do with how I feel.

There are religious people that I still admire. Fr. Greg Boyle tops my list, but my classmates are there too. I think it’s great when people love their faith. I was super happy for the Muslim students when their center opened this year on campus, and I get their newsletter and have been to some of their events with my friends. I still remember when Sacred Heart Chapel seemed to be the center of LMU to me, and I still think our music is unmatched in its quality. Liberation theology and other forms of theology still catch my attention and interest me so much. I’ve ran into the rabbi of campus a couple of times. I have a book of Buddhism that I got from the random mini lending libraries scattered around our palm trees. One of my homeboys is Hindu, and it’s cool to see him rep how his faith influences his world and to see how he laments other people appropriating it. I respect people who faith is very important to, like the ladies from the Dolores Mission community in Boyle Heights. Its world-orienting. I get that. I will worship with you if you ask me to because its important to you and your life. I’m down with it, as long as people don’t force it on other people.

The beginning quote is from an original song by a YouTube singer. Regardless of how I feel about organized religion, I still feel like the Divine imbues the world and voices like the one she has and the passion she has for what she’s singing about shows me that.

The Church isn’t a home for me anymore. That doesn’t even really upset me because it has let me see the beauty in people who are non-religious as well, without thinking that they should be. It’s opened me to new ways of life too and to further believing that there is not one truth, especially since we’re all just making up rules, concepts, and contexts as we go along. I’m not even working for campus ministry this final school year, but those seniors from my freshmen year are still people I wouldn’t mind emulating every now and then. 

I guess the saddest part about losing a home is trying to find what can take its place and deciding if you even want anything to.

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Film Feelings: We Need To Talk About Kevin

So. 1: Tilda Swinton did not need to be in Doctor Strange because she is a damn good actress. I’ve now seen her in Okja (dir. Bong Joon-Ho) and this. And this movie is how I know she’s amazing.

2: This movie leaves a person feeling disturbed. But ever since my first international cinema class, I learned that I love movies that do that to me. Cache (dir. Michael Haneke) is the first film we watched in that course, and I left feeling highly unsettled and not sure about how to articulate why. The movies in the course were not escapist. One didn’t leave feeling ready to take on the next moment of the day. As a film student, you felt energized by the sheer feat that existed on the screen. As a person, you felt exhausted and the world felt…different. Another example is Breaking the Waves (dir. Lars Von Trier). I know the body has physical reactions to emotions from my experience watching this movie. When the main character dies, my heart literally felt as if it was being grabbed from my chest. Those are my kind of movies. This movie was like that. My mom’s verdict: “That was good. It was a little weird too.”

3: The shots, the shots, the shots. The way the director, Lynne Ramsay, composed the frames made each second gorgeous. Beyond that and what really contributed to the film was how she built up tension through the length of time she spent on the character’s faces, mainly Eva (Tilda Swinton). She conveyed extremely well how lonely Eva was, even when she had her whole family together. An image that stood out for me was when she took Kevin to the doctor to check on whether or not he had autism. The doctor was speaking, and then the camera turned itself to Tilda. She was on the far right of the screen and there was doctor equipment that filled the remainder of the screen almost worked to keep her in the corner. The editing too. Ah. Flawless. It was easy to understand the timeline. Tilda’s switch of hairstyle did help with this, but the scenes themselves were sufficient. Granted, it probably would have been more confusing had her hairstyle remained the same the whole time.

4: Motifs and pay-offs. Overall, the film was very quiet. The music came in with lyrics that related to Eva’s situation. A song near the end sings about being an orphan, which fits her new life. The pay-offs for the storyline were always set up. The were set up through introduction of something or a shot. For example, Kevin buys the locks for his school. His mom, dad, and he all have a conversation about the locks. The audience later sees Kevin putting the locks on the door of his school- not selling them as he said he would. And then when Eva is rushing to the school, she looks for Kevin. He’s nowhere to be found and then she reaches the front of the line. From there, she can see Kevin’s locks on the door. She’s still. Another pay-off is her calls to Franklin. He’s not answering, and the audience can attribute it to how their relationship is rocky. Yet, by the time all of the events have transpired and Eva reaches her home and is calling for her family, its clear something is wrong. Its then obvious to the watcher than Franklin probably would not have let the whole day pass without returning his wife’s call. When Franklin and Celia are found outside, the audience expects it because of the previous set-up. Those were done so well. This movie just had an overall sense of meticulousness in its planning and execution.

5: In addition to Tilda Swinton’s performance, the rest of the actors were fabulous as well. Young, middle, and eldest Kevin’s all were believable. What exactly the movie is trying to say about people like Kevin or the whole situation present, I don’t know. Maybe it’s more about the family surrounding him? It’s one of those films that raises the question for you and lets you continue to think about it on your own.

Review-ish: Friends From College – Season 1

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWUBRto1WZQ

Dir. Nicholas Stoller

Streaming Platform: Netflix

Summary: Ethan and Lisa move to New York, which reunites them with their old friend group from college. College was twenty years ago, and they are all at different parts of their life and careers. The group consists of Ethan & Lisa, Sam & her husband, single-ish guy Nick, Max & Felix (until it’s just Max), and Marianne (and her boyfriend who is introduced later).  The people specifically from college are highlighted. Ethan is a writer; Max is his agent. Lisa is an attorney who works at a law firm with an extreme frat boy culture- she hates it. Sam sells furniture (I think). Nick doesn’t do much of anything besides date women half his age, and Marianne is an actress who recently starred in a reverse-sex production of A Streetcar Named Desire.  The catch is that despite being in marriages (Ethan & Lisa; Sam & her husband), Ethan and Sam have been hooking up since college, and consequently, they have been having a continued affair which continues to the current day.

Review:

It makes me want to watch a romantic comedy where the main characters begin single and find the loves of their lives and then go through a roller coaster with them but then end up together.

My review is definitely tainted by my own personal set of beliefs. So, I will do one part where I talk about that and then the other part will be technical things. Okay- let’s go!

So, story-wise and structure wise: no me gusta. As an audience member, I am uncertain of who I am supposed to really empathize with.  I feel as if the writers of the show would like the audience to empathize with Ethan and Sam, hence how their hooking up beginning before either of their relationships. Yet, I can’t do that. I just question why they never managed to enter into a real relationship of their own, and I wonder as to why they bothered to begin actual relationships but continue their own secret thing on the side. Watching, that doesn’t make sense to me. I empathize more with Lisa, and the only reason I actually watched each episode of the show was to see if Lisa would find out. If she found out, I wanted to see how the show would handle that discovery. Alas, they make it more complicated as Lisa cheats on Ethan too with Nick. It’s almost as if it is taking away the audience’s ability to be upset for her so that they empathize with Ethan and Sam again. Besides the cheating, which is the main thing of the show, I’m not sure where the story is supposed to go. It’s also about the reuniting of these friends who reminiscence a lot and are more or less wishing that their college days were continuous. I don’t know how long you can milk that certain storyline. I couldn’t empathize with Sam pining for the past and not wanting to have a fortieth birthday party because I was already annoyed by her and Ethan. And just her in general- especially when she gave Lisa a lecture about love after almost being caught cheating. OOOH and again, just to stress, they’re all supposed to be friends. Lisa is supposed to be Sam’s friends, and whenever I see her try to be her friend on screen, I just dislike it. AnywayAnyway, I don’t find the storyline endearing enough, in terms of the friends being reunited or in terms of all the cheating going on.

Alright, on to technical!

The cinematography was great. Which is also a reason I kept watching. I did like the way it was film and how it looked. There was something that was special about it, and if I wasn’t so distracted by being mad at the story, I could tell you exactly what shots I mean haha. Anyway, I liked how it was low key lighting in many of the scenes. I suppose that added to the more grown-up feel of the show. Also, the show is witty in some ways, which comes through in the editing as well. It’s kind of odd because it almost doesn’t fit, but it does. Even when they’re in a random Jekyll and Hyde restaurant, it fits. The acting is also fantastic. Each character does feel like a different character, and I actually care a lot about Max. Especially when he is going through his stuff with Felix. Marianne becomes most endearing in the last episode, when it’s clear that she cares about her friends. It’s interesting to see Keegan-Michael Key in a different type of role, and he did a good job. Everyone really did, but special s/o to Lisa (Cobie Smulders). She’s very believable. It’s nice too how they set up different aspects of the characters personalities and refer to them throughout. For example, Ethan with his weird voices thing or the noises he makes when he plays tennis. The tennis scene with Max was actually pretty funny.

Anyway, to wrap it up: Technical aspects were pretty good, but I can’t get down with the story.

There are eight episodes now streaming.

Much Love.

Stuff from the past week

*I am just rambling. These are not academic reviews or even really reviews at all. kk. much love**

Spiderman: Homecoming

Saw it once with Jacob and another time with Jp and my mom. I enjoyed the lightheartedness of it. Am wondering what’s up with Hollywood and multiracial families (diverse but not too diverse??), but the twist was actually really cool and fit in with the story. I love that it wasn’t a story about the world ending but just a nice, high-school story. Putting the fun back into the superhero world. It doesn’t always have to be apocalyptic. I tried to tell Jacob that’s why I liked it so much, but I don’t think he got what I meant haha. Also liked how Zendaya ended up being MJ and not just Michelle. Sidekick was fun too. He did a good job. Also good ending all around from Peter Parker and Tony Stark.

Okja

Took the cake. I want an Okja pig. Through all of the things that I have watched this summer, this is what I feel the most connection to. I normally dislike animal movies (read: dog), but this was so endearing, aghh. Like Mija seriously made sure she was going to get that pig back. Lovely. It’s cool that people believed in this movie enough to make it. Seems like one FT would have made.

Frances Ha

I think I started this like 3 years ago, and I finally actually went back to watch it after reading about it in a New York Times article. It was a gem. Also reminded me of Tuscany. Short, sweet, character-driven. In the article, they said it wasn’t a second longer than it needed to be. I agree. Great as is. Oh- and I was really pleased with how the reason for the title tied in to her getting her own mail box/apartment. She got it all together.

Great British Baking Show

Guilty pleasure, except without the guilt. It has a very precise way of editing that each episode follows, but I absolutely love seeing them create their bakes every week and introduce them. Idk how interesting I thought it would be really, but it’s cool to see all these different European/Eastern European desserts that I’ve never heard about. I like the personalities of the people as well. I’m on Episode 9, so I have that one and one more. Rooting for Chetna, but it might be Luis or Robert. Or maybe the lady who referred to Paul Hollywood as the male judge. Mary Berry is pretty intriguing too, and the British humor is nice.

Friends From College: Episode 1

so much cheating agh. I guessed that it was going to open with a sex scene and guess what? IT DID. props to ya girl for knowing the tropes now.

I might keep watching it just to know what happens, but I’m wondering how much I can really empathize with the characters considering the situation they placed themselves in. Like, I think the creators/show-writers want you to empathize with the affair people because they’ve been hooking up since college, before they ever met their spouses, but it’s like- if you were hooking up with someone else, why even bother to ask someone to marry you or date someone during that time? lame. anyway. I’m just being harsh, but that’s how it goes. I have to read too many stories that feature cheating people now lol. tired. Though, I think Inheritance handles that whole bit so beautifully. But the cheating thing also keeps me from blowing through GLOW, even though I think it’s so fresh and shot fantastically.

Wish Upon

almost, but not quite. As in- I almost made it to the theater with Jacob, but not quite. We had ten minutes left until start, and I threw up in our to-go bag in his car. And he took me home. Will be seen later though.

ooh oopsie- I knew I forgot some movies (just checked my Netflix activity so I could remember what they were)

Miss India America from July 5th and To The Bone from July 14th.

Those are obvi two different weeks, but it is what is.

I really enjoyed Miss India America. It was cool to…ya know, now I feel like I wrote about this already. did I write about it in my actual diary? hmm lemme check these drafts. nope, not in drafts. prob in the diary then. anyway.

It was cool that it centered an Indian story and that the majority of the people in the film were Indian, instead of being a side-joke, ya know? I liked it for the actors as well.

And To The Bone. I also liked. I don’t think it’s the style of movie that I hope to make it in the future, but I hope the people who made it are fond of it.

kk. much love. time for bed.

 

Andrea Gibson Poetry

This was re-shared through Xicanisma on Facebook from Andrea Gibson’s page. I love it.

On my death bed
I might not give much thought
to my pronouns,
or who got them wrong.
Who I am might not mean much then,
in the moment right before
I am about to be Everything.
But for now, I am so human,
and so easily soothed
by the sound of somebody
calling me home with a name
I can find myself in. For now
that porch light is a universe
where nothing that is tender
doubts I exist.

 

The end is my favorite part because it’s as tender as the last line says. The sound of your own name said with love is so sweet.

Reviews for the Week: June 24th – July 1st

Holaaaaaaa. Summer Film ’17 kicks into gearrr.

So, the person that takes the tickets at the movie theater told me “nice to see you again” because I have been to the movies four times within the past few days. And two of those times were in the same day.

All Eyez On Me. Baby Driver. Cars 3. Wonder Woman.

Yeah, I’m late to the game on some of these but early on others. Let’s start with the Biopic!

All Eyez On Me

…. 😦

Please watch this video to understand my sadness: 1:00-1:15

and look at this photograph:

well, actually nvm about the photograph. I could not find it, but it was of me dressed as Tupac for my school’s biography day freshmen year of high school.

Note: the video is from 2011. It is 2017. I’m about to be a senior in college, but I have been a fan of Tupac since seventh grade. As a die-hard fan of his music and him as a person, I was really heartbroken to admit that All Eyez On Me was not a good movie. The only part that got me to feel an emotion was when Tupac died because it was a reminder that he is gone. And there’s obviously no coming back from that type of gone.

Anyway, on to why I did not like it.

It did not have a storyline. If I was someone who did not know Tupac at all, I doubt that I would have cared about all the events that they showed me. And that’s what they did. Event, after event, after event with some random scenery shots in the middle. A lot of fades. I have to give it to the editor though. From what was seen on screen, I don’t believe that Joel Cox had a lot to work with. There’s a quote from Walter Murdoch (I think) about how movies are actually made in the editing room. It might not have been from him tbh. It might have been someone else, so s/o to that someone else just in case. Anyway, the quote hints at how raw footage alone is not a movie. The story arises in the editing bay. But yo, if the screenplay and the resulting film footage isn’t telling you a movie, it’s definitely hard to make that story side with the end product.

The first half of the movie was full of intercuts between a prison interview and Tupac’s upbringing. After his release from prison, the intercut section was no more. The audience did not have enough time to get to know Tupac. I think it was assumed that they already did. And of course they do because it’s Tupac. Yet- this is a movie. There should have been time to really empathize with this character and get to know his dreams, his faults, and what hurts him. There should have been a way to really root for him and his success. It was basically like watching home movies and not being entirely interested in the outcome but hoping beyond hope that it was going to be something good. As is, this movie shouldn’t have been. It’s not even a movie that I would see again, and it’s one that I had been waiting for June 16th for because I wanted to see it so badly. And not really because I thought it looked good but solely because it was Tupac, and he may be dead and gone, but I still wanted to support his legacy. In fact, marketing-wise, I had never thought it looked good. From the first trailer I saw, I thought it looked cheap. I didn’t get the red cross. In the film, the audience also gets the sense that there was not a lot of money for this film, despite it having a 40 million dollar budget. Which I guess must have went towards licensing and re-creating fashion choices. Because it definitely wasn’t for marketing. Some of my friends who are very into hip-hop did not even know this film was coming out.

Anywayanyway, I want to concede. There are a lot of angles from which a Tupac story could have been told; a lot of different versions of the man to present. Personally, since I like poetry Tupac but understand the wildin’ out one, I would’ve probably wanted to see the poetry Tupac. But yes- since there are so many angles, it’s understandable that it would have been difficult to craft a story from what was available. Better luck next time.

My mom enjoyed it, however, and she was also a great fan of Tupac.

My brother didn’t,  but he’s pretty cynical in regards to movies starring POC. He didn’t see Straight Outta Compton, and we all know that film was amaziiiing. And if you need to have the approval of a body, it won an Oscar for its screenwriting.

So grain of salt, ya know? Regardless, I don’t understand why Jada Pink Smith was so upset.

As a side-note, my uncle Jim didn’t want to see this film because he was afraid it would tarnish ‘Pac’s legacy in his eyes. I think it would. I did enjoy when he got into a relationship with Quincy Jones’ daughter though.

———  (I meant to make these reviews a paragraph since there are four of them but aye go figure)

Baby Driver

There was something very fresh about this movie. It did feel like something special. I watched it with my friend Jacob, and he gushed about it afterwards on his Facebook. It’s certified fresh so other people are gushing about it as well. I totally get that. It really did have a super cool feel to it, and I like how it’s an original story. However, the last 1/4th of the movie felt chaotic to me. As an action movie, I guess that it’s fine. Jacob liked how unpredictable it became. I feel that. I get it. Makes sense. But story is tantamount to me and the chaotic-ness of it made me feel as if the screenwriters didn’t know how to wrap up the story of the baby driver. It does work for what it is, and it’s actually probably a movie that I would watch again with someone at their house, chilling on the couch. Popcorn and friends.

Beyond that: people need to go beyond their butt shots and just having women be eye-candy. I didn’t think the relationships were believable, and I didn’t feel it fit baby’s character to go gun happy when he was so resigned to non-violence beforehand. I also remember seeing a piece from Love Life of an Asian Guy about how the black characters usually get killed first in horror movies (baby driver is action) and how that illustrates the unimportance of those characters in the movie and in real life. This actually resonated with me, and I felt as if the succession in which the people died went along with that. Asian guy, black guy, girl, white guy. I really wanted the Asian guy to last longer haha, I thought he was cool.

Regardless, I do get the case people are making for why they really loved this film. I did like it as well, but like I said, I had my issues. However, it did feel super fresh and as if there was something special about it. It was also cut together super well. Good stuff. I think I’ll read some other reviews to see if anyone else felt the way I did about the second half.

Maybe it felt so fresh because it isn’t a typical American movie as the director is British and apparently has a very distinct filmmaking style for his other films as well. (Edgar Wright)

Cars 3

I saw this with Kyleeee. It was v. cute. I liked it. I loved how Cruz ended up being Latina. And I thought the conclusion was wonderful with how McQueen is going to keep racing but he ended up training Cruz as well. They set the conclusion up well, as one could tell where it was going after he raced with her at the beach. At least, I could. Kyle couldn’t. I didn’t see Cars 2, so I’m unsure if there’s something I should have seen from that one, but I feel like I didn’t miss anything.

It almost felt as if this one was supposed to be speaking to an older audience, with all of the commentary about getting older and the new generation and all of that. I liked it though. Another movie that I would watch with friends on a couch.

Wonder Woman

We have made it to the end! yay! Also seen with Kyle.

My friend Yi Ning was the first person to gush to me about Wonder Woman. I actually had no interest in it. I don’t remember who showed me the original trailer way back when (maybe my brother?), but I remember that as being the reason why I was uninterested.

Buuuut. I’ll give it to Patty Jenkins. I really like her style of filmmaking. The blue and green colors that were present throughout gave it a nice feel and a cohesiveness to it. The large amount of clean close-ups was also an interesting choice that I really enjoyed. And the pacing too. It was different from the typical action/superhero movies. It took its time and moved along slowly.

Of course, in addition to the praise, I have also seen different criticisms of the film and of casting choices, and I actually do like reading over those and wondering about what they say as well. One thing that I think is important with any movie in regards to human relations outside of the movie is for people to ask themselves if they could see the white character as another race. Could Wonder Woman be Asian? Black? Latina? Sans comic aside, why not? I just think that’s important for people to ask themselves. It’s very easy to see white people in any role and to let them maintain their humanity, but POC don’t always have that going for them, and if we can’t picture POC in different roles, then I think we don’t see POC as fully human.

Anyway, mini diversion over.

My favorite part of the movie was simply the style of filmmaking. Yi Ning said that she thinks it’s great for the next generation growing up to see this and to feel empowered from it. And I agree. Gina Rodriguez just posted an Instagram of her acting like Wonder Woman, so hey. It is empowering. #RepresentationMatters and going off that, praise be that there were no butt shots. Yes. Thank you. And that’s probably because it was a woman director helming the seat. Not that woman can’t be equally as objectifying of other women as men (patriarchy runs deep), but overall, I think it makes a different. Women are three-dimensional and women like those in Baby Driver or all of the women splayed out in All Eyez On Me don’t get to showcase that. We smile all the time (which Wonder Woman did too, so it’s interesting to wonder if it would have resonated so deeply with people if she smiled less), we have any number of tropes you can name, but we don’t really get to be real people. So, that’s nice to see.

Kyle’s favorite part was when she was fighting the person she thought was Aries, and it ended up not being Aries. I enjoyed how there was actually an Aries after. Despite the other person telling her that there wasn’t one and thinking she was just kind of out there for that. I thought their relationship was unnecessary though. But it’s chill. I like romance. Would also re-watch on a couch with some snacks and a friend.

Peace out! Until later ❤

Paige P.

 

La Migra

by José Antonio Rodriguez

 

The grownups sat on their long chair called couch

And talked of the weather, the dew of the blossoms’ morning,

And what might happen to us, the children.

Mom said don’t leave the house, not without

Papers. Do I dare speak of the papers hoarded

In corners? How many more poems can you write

About a face spackled with fear before

It holds you? The reader aiming, too.

Let us find a charcoaled corner, you and I,

Where we will lay these words. Leave children

To sleep in windowless rooms. The mother

biting a prayer. The country weaving a tomb.