Mini Movie Review (BROS)

The movie BROS just happened to be newly available to stream for free, so I watched it. Billy Eichner stars as Bobby, an angry gay white guy who protects himself with cynicism and perpetual bachelorhood. Enter a love interest, Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), a handsome, muscular and macho lawyer who Bobby meets at a gay dance club. They seem as believable together as, say, combining mustard and peanut butter. The purposeful overacting, especially by Eichner, feels tiresome and annoying more than funny. And Eichner as Bobby can’t stop his righteous ranting, which quickly grows old. That all said, there are some humorous moments, such as an awkward orgy scene involving the two main characters and two other men. But, what had me laughing the most is a certain scene in a gym, and the one that immediately follows, where Bobby pretends to be macho by deepening his voice and talking like a “bro.”

Basically, the movie is often structured like a television sitcom, with a few scenes being quite funny and most seeming only slightly so or not at all. There is a sweet song performed towards the end by Eichner, which feels like a pleasant respite from the production’s intentionally forced, stilted, and inane dialogue. BROS is worth checking out for free, but I’m glad I didn’t pay to see a show that’s about eighty-five percent irritating drivel and maybe fifteen percent humorous and endearing.

Brainspotting the X-Men’s Wolverine

Here’s a fun, geeky thought I had earlier today. I imagined enjoying the challenge of doing Brainspotting treatment on the X-Men’s Wolverine as a client of mine. He’s got to be one of the most traumatized comic book superheroes ever created. I also imagined having to ensure a thick window made of some sturdy material was placed between us. Hence, we’d actually be sitting and facing each other from separate rooms. This would minimize the likelihood of Woverine possibly killing me in a fit of rageful abreaction (acting out/releasing of emotion) while processing through some violent flashback scenes in his life, such as the time when Adamantium metal was surgically forced around his bones.

I think Wolverine would be a good candidate for telehealth therapy, which is how I continue to meet with most of my clients.

Book Review (THE SILMARILLION by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien)

I just finished J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE SILMARILLION, published in 1977, four years after the author’s death, thanks largely to his son Christopher Tolkien, who edited the book and added in an appendix and an extremely helpful index of names. I read Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy many years ago. I intentionally took my time to get to this prequel to those four books, and I can see why. I had to ripen into middle age to have enough patience to read this ornately detailed text. This took me longer to read than Tolstoy’s ANNA KARENINA, which is more than double this book’s length.

THE SILMARILLION is a series of narratives about Tolkien’s make believe world of Arda and Middle-earth, the very beginning of the book a creation myth. Tolkien drew much of his inspiration from Norse and Celtic mythology respectively. His prose has a lyrical lilting quality to it, as if someone were speaking all the words aloud in any possible number of Gaelic accents, whichever happens to be the most musical in tone.

For more than half of the book, I felt a mix of fascination and irritation. The plethora of beautiful names of characters (Elven, Dwarf, human, dragon, and other fantastical creatures) and places and their colorful descriptions held my interest. But, having to constantly look so many of these up in the index in order to keep things straight in my head annoyed me for a good while. Eventually, I got used to doing this and found I didn’t have to refer to the index quite so frequently. Still, I continued to refer to it down to the last page of story. And since beings, places, and objects (especially buildings, rings, and swords) each tended to have two to three names, my reliance on the index was only further reinforced. Perhaps not everyone will need, or has needed, to refer to the index so frequently as I did while reading this tome, which is actually less than three hundred pages in length if you exclude the index and appendix.

I compare this book— especially the first half of it or so— to walking through a museum of ancient, fantastical history, filled with assorted artifacts and detailed descriptions about them. I only wish a map of Middle-earth were included. I would have constantly been looking at it to properly place in my mind where regions/countries, cities, and natural places, such as rivers and mountain ranges, all were in relation to each other. I vaguely remember some map(s) in the first part of Tolkien’s THE LoTR and THE HOBBIT texts, but this old copy of THE SILMARILLION had no such illustration. I made due and tolerated some confusion around what was where in relation to an event or other places because I preferred this over taking the time to get online and study a map of Middle-earth. After all, it’s not like I was going to be tested on this book in some class. I’m just not that geeky or obsessive and wanted to stay in the lyrical flow of the stories— and be done with the book without even more delays.

Eventually, the stories pick up pace with more action and an increase in focusing on individual characters, mostly concerning wars and battles fought, or situations somehow contributing to these, and always clearly between good and evil. Tolkien’s morality-filled universe is a simplified Manichean one, but still a relevant allegory, I find. His message of the need to be ever vigilant of greed and the thirst for power, in oneself and others, continues to be as crucial today as has always been the case with humankind. I appreciate how he includes the values of hope and perseverance, hope that the light within nature and societies can and will live on and, with individual and collective perseverance towards the light, will ultimately come through triumphantly for long periods, even as darkness ebbs and flows. It is a cycle, a cycle of life, as seen through cycles within cycles, such as the transitioning of seasons, of civilizations rising and falling, and of land masses changing. This all is expressed in a steady and beautiful rhythm in THE SILMARILLION.

The book is a worthwhile read if you are naturally patient or can muster up enough patience like I finally did.

Micro/Mini Movie Review (BURIED IN BARSTOW)

In BURIED IN BARSTOW, Angie Harmon stars as Hazel King, a kick ass woman with a dark past who owns and runs a diner outside of Vegas. She is beautiful, somewhat scratchy voiced, and entertaining in this new, trashy suspense drama on the Lifetime Movie Network. Her high heels, leather jacket, and form fitting pants add to the high camp factor.

My Pet Peeve About Many Post Coital Scenes in Movies

A pet peeve of mine: Post coital scenes in movies where both lovers are wearing underwear. Now, I’m not gratuitously lascivious, just a viewer who appreciates realism where indicated, in this case complete nudity immediately after sex in a bed. Otherwise, dear film directors, please simply angle the camera more discreetly or drape a sheet or bedclothes over the actors if on-camera exposure of genitalia is a concern.

Dream About Brainspotting Senator Warnock

I woke up from a dream in which I was doing Brainspotting with Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, the “spot” being his intention to win re-election. The imagery was interesting, as I had Mr. Warnock focus inward on a circular image representing his achieving this goal. I felt confident and focused in the dream.

I just made my fourth small donation to his campaign. I hope I can help make this dream come true.

I can’t recall any other time where I dreamt of my work and national politics converging. Wild.

On Dropping Down Inside With Attuned Silence

I am realizing how I have often just scratched the surface as a psychotherapist, the surface of so much talking to and with others. Entering further into a focused, attuned silence with clients has allowed them to drop down into deeper parts of their brains, beyond the verbal, eventually leading towards more lasting calm and clarity, among other states. This goes below the culturally conditioned back-and-forth of talking. Powerful.

Movie Review (THE AFTERMATH)

THE AFTERMATH (2019) is generally well-done and deeply moving in a few places, particularly a scene where Keira Knightley’s character plays “Clair de Lune” on a Steinway piano and becomes overcome with grief.

The cultural, political, and subsequent relational tensions between English military personnel with their spouses as one social group and German citizens as another are effectively explored in the movie. From there, the major theme/wider implications of navigating cultural and political differences towards finding shared or common threads within humanity come through in THE AFTERMATH, which is primarily a tender post World War II love story set in the fall and winter of 1945 Hamburg, Germany.

Alexander Skarsgard portrays a widowed German architect who is forced to host a married British couple, played by Keira Knightley and Jason Clarke. Clarke is Lewis Morgan, an Army colonel charged with assisting in the post bombing cleanup of Hamburg. The two have lost their young son a few years before. This leaves an emotional rift between them, creating the perfect situation for romantic intrigue to develop between the gorgeous, cultured, yet sad Stephen Lubert (Skarsgard) and Knightley’s lonely and grief-stricken Rachael Morgan.

I enjoyed the gradual build up of tension between characters in such stark back-drops of a bombed out city and a large, solid house filled with beautiful things. Like hollowed out and anguish-filled Hamburg, the pristine house the main characters inhabit also feels hollow and anguish-laden.

I’m not sure if this movie is particularly original and/or intellectually challenging or stimulating with any of its themes. However, it is generally pleasant and relaxing to watch, especially if you’re in the mood to view something that moves along while not being over-stimulating with too much visual busyness or details to remember and follow.

Mini Movie Review (THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING)

THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING is beautiful and poignant, exquisitely so I might add. The colorful visuals are lush and fun, expressions of rich, sensual imaginations. I often felt like I was watching a series of moving paintings. Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba play their roles fabulously, but the whole cast is terrific.

This movie is indeed a lovely, thoughtful adult riff on THE ARABIAN NIGHTS. I was moved to tears towards the end.

Djinns have long fascinated me since childhood. This is the most dynamic, compassionate, and sexy portrayal of a djinn that I’ve ever seen on screen.

Bravo to director George Miller and everyone else involved in the making of this cinema gem.