EVERYWHERE I LOOKED I WAS SEEING someone I had seen on videos or television. Though the general population may not have recognized them, I certainly did because I wanted to be one of them. My assignment was manning the entrance to the hospitality suite, where guest presenters could come to relax or grab something to eat. I had to check the ID badges of everyone coming in; though honestly, I wasn’t expecting anyone crashing the suite since it was not near the convention hall. When I could, I would help the volunteer staff keep the food tables filled and clean. For the most part everyone who walked in was pleasant; they at least acknowledged me when I greeted them. Of course, there were always a few negative people or “stuck up” ones that moved right past without a glance or nod towards me. And that was ok; I understood that after being up on stage or in the middle of a crowd, one needs to decompress with some down time. Just from the little that I did in the field, I knew the amount of energy it took to get people motivated and interested in what I was trying to achieve. I was perfectly fine to be in the background and simply observe them while they were in the suite. ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS I discovered early on was how some of the presenters preferred being alone in the suite. There were some who moved a chair away from others to sit and look at their electronic devices. Others would spend their time going from one presenter to another as they came in and out of the rooms. As a fan, I enjoyed seeing how they all interacted amongst themselves. To me it looked like a few were collaborating on a project together. One presenter, who I was familiar with, was a lawyer who was instrumental in changing the safety protocols in the industry. She was sought out by many and I only wished I could hear what they were talking about. There was another presenter who was a researcher who I saw multiple times on different videos. He was well respected and known for debunking many false claims that others were trying to promote. Looking at the amount of talent and knowledge in the room, I had to wonder what each could create from a chance meeting, that would have a lasting affect on the profession. It was exciting to see, just as it was for me watching this film festival winning and Golden Globe nominated drama. AFTER A STUNNING WIN IN THE boxing ring, the night’s celebration for Cassius Clay, played by Eli Goree (Race, Godzilla), was waiting for him at a motel room with a small group of friends. With Kingsley Ben-Adir (Peaky Blinders-TV, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) as Malcom X, Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures) as Jim Brown, Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton, Red Tails) as Sam Cooke and Lance Reddick (John Wick franchise, White House Down) as Kareem X; the story in this film was brilliant. Having 4 people, accomplished in their fields, dealing with the prejudices of the times in the 60s was near genius. I thought the acting was tremendous as the actors formed a bond that was real and believable. And as a bonus for me was having Leslie Odom Jr.’s character sing. The direction of this movie kept things on an even playing field; I never lost interest as the night progressed. After I was done watching this picture, I had to confirm that this was not an actual event because it seemed so natural, as if the writers were simply retelling a historic event. This was a well-done film that felt as current now as it was back then.
3 ½ stars
IF I DID SOMETHING WRONG, I was unaware of it as the driver of the car tried to cut me off. It was after work while I was driving home. There was a car ahead of me that was trying to make a left turn across oncoming traffic. I checked my rearview and side mirrors along with turning my head to check my car’s blind spot. With no car in sight I drove into the right lane to avoid getting stopped behind the left turning car. As I was passing the car on the left, I heard a car honking; it was a car from behind that was racing up towards me. Once I passed the turning car I drove back into the left lane; however, that was not good enough for this honking car. The driver sped up and got in front of me where he immediately slowed down to a stop. With cars on my right I was stuck behind him. Since I had no idea what was happening, I quickly looked for an out. There was a break in the oncoming traffic; so, I swerved into their lanes to get around the stopped car. He must have been shocked by my actions because he had a delay in his reflexes which was all I needed to speed away. I did see him start to follow me; so, at the earliest opportunity I swerved onto a side street and turned off my headlamps. I cut into an alley and backtracked towards my office to take a different route home. I ALREADY HAD A SUSPICIOUS NATURE and this episode accentuated it. For the next several weeks I kept an eye out for that car. Gratefully, in the middle of my panic I did look at his license plate and remembered the starting letters and numbers. As I drove home, I was constantly checking my rearview and side mirrors. The problem I was running into was the fact this driver’s car and color were popular. Every time I saw black colored car of the same model in my mirror I panicked. I did not know whether I should turn off the road immediately or quickly speed up to make sure he did not get close enough to recognize me; I was driving myself crazy. This route was the fastest one for me to get home; but if I was going to be anxious and nervous driving it every day it was not worth it. Due to this I could totally sympathize with the main character in this suspenseful, mystery horror film. AFTER LEAVING HER CONTROLLING HUSBAND AND his subsequent death by suicide Cecilia Kass, played by Elisabeth Moss (The One I Love, The Handmaid’s Tale), thought she would finally feel free of him. However, she still had this nagging feeling as if she was being watched, especially when little mishaps started taking place. With Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Faster, Going the Distance) as Adrian Griffin, Harriet Dyer (Down Under, Love Child-TV) as Emily Kass, Aldis Hodge (Hidden Figures, Straight Outta Compton) as James Lanier and Storm Reid (A Wrinkle in Time, Don’t Let Go) as Sydney Lanier; this movie was a real thrill ride. Elisabeth was outstanding in the role; the range of emotions that poured out of her was easily felt. I rarely jump in my seat from a scene in a movie; but I did while watching this picture. I thought it was ingenious to take the original story and flip it. There were a couple of scenes that were hard to believe; however, having committed myself fully to the story it did not matter much to me. I loved the buildup of suspense and again, the intense acting skills of Elisabeth which made this film a must see in my opinion. If one has any bit of a suspicious nature; this film could easily heighten it. There were a few scenes that had blood and violence in them.
3 1/3 stars
WHEN I WAS A MUCH YOUNGER BOY I thought there were many differences between men and women. Maybe it was the times, the environment or the teachings; but outside the physical characteristics both sexes were treated differently. I never understood why the color blue was designated as a masculine color and pink a feminine one. I was taught to open doors for women and to give up my seat on the bus or train for a woman who is standing. Rarely do I see either of these things being done these days. If a female drops something it was ok to pick it up for her; however, if a male dropped something it was okay to ignore it. To pick something up for another male was akin to telling them they were weak and puny. Seriously, this is what I was led to believe. And of course, there is that thing about showing emotions, especially sadness and tears. Heaven forbid you are watching a sad movie in your film class and tear up; your classmates will pounce on you for being a weak sissy. These are only a couple of the things that I encountered in my youth; I am glad I grew up. HERE ARE A FEW THINGS I see today: both women and men saying ignorant things, both sexes displaying prejudices, men and women competing on the same team and both capable of being poor drivers. In other words, in my small world I see very little difference between men and women. As such, I treat them the same. If either sex drops something I will pick it up for them. In my fitness classes I do not even see males and females; I see people working hard and doing their best. With the participants in my classes ranging in age from 16 to 80 years old, I see the younger generations have a different mindset about the opposite sex than the older members. It is encouraging to me because I believe everyone should be on equal footing and treated equally. In the locker room the only negative remarks I have heard about the opposite sex have come from older men. In my opinion there is a lack of respect on their part, based on their comments. I do not think they have a clue that their attitude is part of the problem. For all I know they may not even know what a woman needs and who knows, maybe the same thing goes on in the women’s locker room and they don’t know what men need. This was not the case for the woman in this dramatic, romantic fantasy. NO MATTER HOW HARD SHE WORKED Ali Davis, played by Taraji P. Henson (Proud Mary, No Good Deed), never felt like she was being treated fairly at her job. Could it be because she was the only female sports agent? This remake of the male version also starred Josh Brener (The Internship, The Belko Experiment) as Brandon Wallace, Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton) as Will, Max Greenfield (The Big Short, About Alex) as Kevin Myrtle and Brian Bosworth (The Longest Yard, Three Kings) as Nick Ivers. I do not know when this movie was completed but a part of me had to wonder while watching it if it was purposely written to appeal to our current events between the sexes. I felt the script had holes in it causing me to be bored. If it was not for Taraji’s valiant effort to get as much as possible out of the script, I would have been even more bored. Gratefully her acting kept this picture alive, along with the few scenes that I found humorous. I do not know how much you will gain from watching this film; I think you would learn more from one of my classes.