Because it’s almost the end of the year, I want to save my big creative juices for my final blog posts. So I’m borrowing a device I used as a sports reporter: the notebook dump. Here are a few things that have been on my mind.
I saw the movie “Fences” yesterday. I liked it, a lot. It’s a good drama. One thing I don’t like about “dramatic” movies is that they often have to hit you over the head with how dramatic they are. The protagonist has a drinking problem, so we need a musical montage of that character drowning themselves with a bottle. Or they have daddy issues, so we see dramatic closeups of a photo of that departed parent that walked out on them. I know that lots of people have those sorts of issues, but I don’t know too many of those people.
“Fences” takes place in 1950s Pittsburgh. It’s adapted from August Wilson’s play of the same name. It follows a black family as they navigate middle class life in that era. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that Denzel Washington’s character is a hardworking father and husband who makes a mistake. He has struggles, but the movie doesn’t hit you in the face with them. The story unfolds with understatement and texture. It’s refreshing to have a movie that makes you invest a little bit in the characters and their stories.
I really have grown to love the Current. I’ve actually started listening to it more after the election. I just haven’t been able to get back into the news groove ever since the election. I actually like the DJs and they all have their own characteristics that make them unique. I like Mark Wheat, the British DJ who runs the evening shift. He’s always kind and cool. He seems like the type of person who’d be happy to chat with you for a little bit if you met him on the street. The whole station has been a great source of comfort in the waning days of the year. This is also the first year in a while where I feel educated enough to contribute to some year end lists. (I really liked the new Bon Iver album, sue me.)
I’ve had a hard time latching onto one book. I recently finished the novel “Staggerford” by John Hassler (a Saint John’s grad.) I like the character development, but it hasn’t aged well. There are lots of outdated racial references to Native Americans in there. I’m a few hundred pages into a book called “Soccernomics,” it’s interesting, but soccer books can get a little dry. I don’t know if I’m going to finish it. I also have a book on Spain, as well as “Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann. I read it a few years ago and loved it. Hopefully I can get through it again sometime soon. I also have a memoir of a man from Minneapolis who’s in prison. Maybe my new year’s resolution should be to write more books.