An Extremely Succinct Review of Netflix’s, “Anne with an ‘E'”

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While not exactly Montgomery’s story, as a historical drama the show is pretty fantastic. The cinematography in itself might be a reason to continue watching: it is a beautiful thing to behold, the intimate close ups and soft, shallow focus capturing the dreaminess of Anne’s spirit.

Though there were strange artistic liberties taken in the writing of this adaptation, it was well cast, and Amybeth McNulty was a wonderful Anne, albeit a bit exaggerated and heavy-handed at times — though that was most likely a directorial choice.

The final episode in the first season was, admittedly, in my opinion, far too grim for even this adaptation of “Anne.” Matthew even considering suicide was not only extremely out of character, but unnecessary to the plot line, making the end of the first season was an odd and unsettling one.

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To My Literary Heroes

Edgar Allan Poe taught me that one can learn to trust the darkness, accept the unknown, and that there are mysteries that no mortal mind can apprehend — and that, perhaps, we are better off not knowing).

Oscar Wilde taught me to see comedy and beauty in the most precarious and hopeless of situations (and that most situations or events which humans take seriously are, in actuality, quite comedic).

Flannery O’Connor taught me that conviction is a strength and being grotesque is something that should be carried with grace.

Stephen King taught me that simply honing your skills and creating a good story is more important than pleasing the critics or attempting to perfect flawless prose.

The Bronte Sisters taught me that one can find the greatest worlds within oneself, and that imagination is a powerful force that, once tapped, can wield mighty things.

Emilie Autumn taught me that pain can be turned into something worthwhile, and that the things which make us broken also make us beautiful.

Maud Hart Lovelace taught me to always remember where I come from, and to see the world as I once did as a child: with wonder, curiousity, and joy.

My Top 10 Songs: 2018

Note: these are in no particular order, and are only in reference to songs released in the year 2018. I love a lot of music and artists, but these are 10 songs I believe deserve special recognition. 


you should see me in a crown | Billie Eilish

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“Count my cards, watch them fall

Blood on a marble wall…”

Cool, moody, and completely enthralling, this new single by Billie is a good sign that her debut full-length album will be something of great magnificence. 


Second Night of Summer | BØRNS

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“Throwing me that shade like I’m not cool enough…”

Blue Madonna kicked off 2018 on a great start musically, and, in my honest opinion, is even more impressive than BORN’s 2015 debut album. This song in particular is a highlight from the album, groovy with fantastic synth-laden interludes. It’s a great song to blast while driving on a summer night.


Wilson (Expensive Mistakes) | Fall Out Boy

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“I became such a strange shape

Such a strange shape from trying to fit in…”

Although MANIA was largely inflated and directionless (with an alienating and odd lead single), this song is a stand out. Energetic, fun, and with lyrics formed from movie quotes and references, “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)” is a great addition to the FOB discography. 


Mr. Tillman | Father John Misty

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“I’m feeling good, damn, I’m feeling so fine, I’m living on a cloud above an island in my mind…”

Sardonic, darkly witty, and intensely self-aware—“Mr. Tillman” is Father John Misty (a.k.a. Josh Tillman) at his best. (I mean, I’m a little worried for him, if I’m being honest, if half of these lyrics are true. But it’s a great song!)


Respect Commander | Jack White

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“She has all my respect

And I cannot protect

My heart from her command…”

Before the release of Boarding House Reach, Jack White was quoted as saying that his new album was, “good gardening music or roofing music or, you know, back-alley stabbing music”. I think this song pretty much captures that sentiment. Divided into two parts – a frenetic instrumental segment, and a bluesy, guitar-driven segment – “Respect Commander” sees Jack White channeling his inner Jim Morrison, and it will have you saying (like a friend of mine said after I forced her to listen to the whole thing in my car): “Wow, that was wild.”


After the Storm | Kali Uchis (feat. Tyler, the Creator & Bootsy Collins)

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“The sun’ll come out, nothing good ever comes easy

I know times are rough, but winners don’t quit, so don’t you give up

The sun’ll come out, but we’ve been struggling endless days

Someday we’ll find the love, ‘Cause after the storm’s when the flowers bloom…”

This song became my anthem for a better part of this year, as I embarked on the winding adventure that was making my TV show, “The Coroner’s Assistant.” Kali’s words of wisdom kept me going on the harder days, after we had to cancel long-planned shoots, find new locations last minute, and hope that the weather didn’t turn on us. “After the Storm” is empowering and will make you believe that your hustling and hard work will be worth it.


Life In Pink | Kate Nash

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“What’s wrong with me?

Am I person yet?”

In April 2018, Kate Nash released her latest album after five years. This album encapsulated the Kate Nash I knew and loved when I was a lonely, insecure teenager: a songwriter who addresses topics like mental health issues, creativity, hope, and belonging. “Life in Pink” does all that – in a bubbly pop rock song that will make you want to roll down the windows and scream along.


Mariners Apartment Complex | Lana Del Rey

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“You lose your way, just take my hand

You’re lost at sea, then I’ll command your boat to me again

Don’t look too far, right where you are, that’s where I am

I’m you man…”

Working with Jack Antonoff, the producer of her upcoming 2019 album, Norman F***ing Rockwell, Lana Del Rey released two singles at the end of the summer that caught her fans off guard and blew them away. “Mariners Apartment Complex” is one of her best singles to date, capturing perfectly the nostalgia that Lana’s music has always strived to encompass, with her vocals sounding better than ever after letting go of her beloved reverb. 


Dancing’s Not a Crime | Panic! At the Disco

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“We could be waltzing

But Darlin’ don’t be throwing shade, now

Don’t call me Saint California if you’re at another altar

Just gimme your vows, gimme your vows…”

Pray For the Wicked was a divisive album for many long-time Panic! fans. I thought it was an incredibly fun record, energetic and confident – and “Dancing’s Not a Crime” is Pray for the Wicked at its most fun. (And, of course, Brendon totally kills it vocally, like always.)


Chlorine | twenty one pilots

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“Hide you in my coat pocket, where I kept my rebel red

I felt I was invincible, you wrapped around my head…”

Dynamic, layered, complex, “Chlorine” is a stand out from Trench, the phenomenal latest release from this Columbus duo. This track is stunning from start to finish, crafted with Tyler Joseph’s endlessly inventive lyricism and undeniable energy. 

If You Wanted to Write a Novel, You Would Have by Now

“I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I just don’t have the time.”

“I wanted to write a book when I was younger, but then…”

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but…”

 

Pitiful excuses.

When you want to do something, you make the time for it. You make sacrifices and take risks to make it happen. No one is going to give you time: you make time for what you feel driven to do.

There is no “wanting to be” a writer. You are either a writer, or you are not.

If you really, truly, wanted to write a book, you would have done it by now–or else began on an earnest journey to do so.

Stop making excuses. Start writing.

Lana Del Rey: Unreleased

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In appreciation of the end-of-summer surprise that Lana has given to us fans, with the release of her singles, “Mariners Apartment Complex,” and “Venus Bitch,” I’ve decided to share some of my favorite “unreleased”* tracks of Lana’s. I’ve included my favorite lines of lyrics to each song.

*I say, “unreleased,” because while a lot of these tracks were leaked by Lana fans, some of included in this list were, at one time, “released” to the public under Lana’s former stage personas, including her “real” name, Lizzy Grant, and Lana del Ray. Although she released many demos, EPs, and singles (and an entire album as “Lana del Ray”) during these stages, they are not available to the general public on iTunes or streaming services.


 

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JIMMY GNECCO (also known as, “Jimmy Necco”)

Just Lizzy and a guitar.

Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, take me to the park 

Buy me cotton candy, kiss me in the dark


 

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QUEEN OF DISASTER

Bubbly and fun; delightfully retro.

You got me spinning like a ballerina

You’re the bad boy I’ve always dreamed of

You’re the king, and I’m the beauty queen of disaster


 

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KILL KILL

Lizzy Grant (a.k.a. Lana Del Ray) showcases her (soon to be) signature style.

I’m in love with a dying man


 

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DRIVING IN CARS WITH BOYS

Great guitar hook in the background; great anthem about being a young adult. (There is an “official” version of this song and a demo version. Both are worth listening to.)

I was born to live fast, die young

Leave a beautiful corpse and life on the run

I got my cash and my Louis Vuitton, diamonds and guns

Girls just wanna, just wanna have fun


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YOU CAN BE THE BOSS

Classic Lana song about a rich older man.

He has a white corvette like I want it

A fire in his eyes, know, I saw it

He’s bleeding from his brain and his wallet

He’s sick and he’s taken but honest


 

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HOLLYWOOD

Atmospheric as hell. Lana makes Hollywood seem as glamorous as it once was — or never was.

Body electric and I dance like Morrison

When the night begins, baby comes alive again


 

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DYNAMITE

Another upbeat pop tune, sprinkled with Lana’s style.

French vanilla ice cream

Just the way I like

Dripping on your windscreen

I can’t get a bite


 

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DANGEROUS GIRL

Featuring an electric guitar riff that samples the Star Spangled Banner, which works surprisingly well.

He’s my drugstore cowboy

Italian alloy, classical American

And I’m America’s sweetheart

Cute, delicious sweet tart

Sipping on my Diet Coke

Singin’ in the trailer park


 

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KINDA OUTTA LUCK

A weird little song about a lady killer. And by that, I mean an actual lady who kills her boyfriends and then dumps their bodies in the back of a truck.

Femme fatale, always on the run

Diamonds on my wrist, whiskey on my tongue


 

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JFK

I don’t share Lana’s particular enthusiasm for this president, but I am enthusiastic about how great this song is.

You’ve got a way like JFK when you do it

The way you move it

Spins me ‘round like a record, baby


 

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THE MAN I LOVE

Melodramatic with rich imagery.

All that’s real to me is Halloween and Jesus

Coney Island beaches

Chandeliers and seizures, honey


 

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FLIPSIDE

Presumably a reject from Ultraviolence, which should have made the original tracklist.

You’ve got me all dressed up tonight

Springsteen on the radio

You’ve got me all freaked out tonight


 

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YOUR GIRL (3 YEARS) (also known as, “Your Girl,” and “3 Years (Your Girl)”)

Lana perfectly captures the ache and anger in unrequited love.

I wish I was your girl


 

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YES TO HEAVEN

Sweet and delicate.

If you dance I’ll dance

I’ll put my red dress on again


 

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ANGELS FOREVER (FOREVER ANGELS) (also known as, “Forever Angels”)

Sometimes, when I feel sad, I put on this song, and everything seems okay.

Does the ocean inspire, easy rider?

Do the stars and the wind take you higher?


 

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SUMMER BUMMER (SOLO VERSION)

In my opinion, this should have been released as the “official” album version.

It’s never too late to see what I wanna see

Instead of what’s in front me, yeah

Female Filmmakers Are Not Different Than Male Filmmakers

No matter which career a woman chooses, she faces certain cultural biases.  In a male-dominated arena such as film, the blatant sexism shows itself with little remorse.

There is a certain idea going around that “female filmmakers” are different than their male counterparts.  The fact that people feel the need to slap the word “female” in front of “filmmaker” is evidence of this fact.  The continuous segregation of filmmakers – not only female filmmakers, but other “minority” filmmakers, such as LGBT filmmakers, African-American filmmakers, etc. – needs to stop.

Being a woman is different from being man, this is true.  Women have different life experiences than men.  But there is no difference in creativity and imagination between the sexes.  Most people do not separate writers by the sexes – they do not say that the Harry Potter series should be judged differently or looked at in a different viewpoint than the Chronicles of Narnia simply because the author happens to be a woman.  To say that the ideas of filmmakers who are women should be looked upon differently than those of men is demeaning and wrong.

Compared to other creative careers in entertainment, such as the music and publishing businesses, the film business just does offer the same opportunities for women.  The facts and figures for women who want to go into film are very discouraging:

  • Out of eight-six years of its existence, only one woman has won the Oscar for Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow in 2010), and only four women in have ever been nominated for the award.
  • 91% of all feature films that appear in movie theaters are made by men.
  • A scant 2% of cinematographers in film are female.
  • More male screenwriters get jobs than female screenwriters.

Some say that the lack of female presence in film is due to lack of interest.  This is a reasonable theory, but it seems that it is untrue.  The more disappointing truth is that women do not get hired to direct films, especially studio films, and do not receive the correct amount of financial backing to make their films.

Then there is the problem of romantic comedies.  Most men dismiss romantic comedies as “chick flicks” – they are movies about women made for women, right?  Well, the vast majority of these so-called chick flicks are made by men – they are written, produced, and directed by men.  So the fact is that we have men making films for women about women and what women should like.  And consider the fact that even with films marketed toward men – actions films, thrillers, etc. – women are likely to be interested in seeing these films and buy tickets to see them, while only a small amount of men pay to see women-centric films.  Not only is the film industry sexist in itself, but the audience is as well.

One of the age-old “concerns” about “female filmmakers” is this: what if they decide to have a family?

The only difference between a man and a woman filmmaker who decides to have a family is that the woman carries the child.  That is it.  If a woman in film wants to have kids it should not seal her doom in her career.  Plenty of women have children and a career.  Think of all of the actresses, singers, etc. that have had children and still are able to have an active career.  Beyoncé, Amy Poehler, Angelina Jolie, Helena Bonham Carter…and the list goes on.  Why should a woman who is a filmmaker be treated differently than any of these women who have decided to have families?  The notion is ridiculous, and extremely one-sided.

Nobody ever expresses concerns about men in the film business who decide to have families.  Nobody asks men, “How do you do it?  How do you balance a family and your career?”  That question,  that responsibility, seems only to loom on women.  Fatherhood is just as important as motherhood.  To place such a heavy burden on mothers is to not only create an unnecessary issue about “working moms”, but demeans fatherhood.

The cold, hard truth is that there should not be the amount of bias for women in the film industry (or any career path).  There are no excuses.

We should hope there will be a day when female directors are not an anomaly, not “special”.  We shouldn’t hope for an equal amount of men and women directors; that notion is ridiculous and unrealistic – only that women who are fit for the role of director and deserving of the title receive an equal opportunity for the job and are seen with just as much respect and normality as men.  Creative leadership is an immense amount of responsibility for anyone.  That the stigma of women leaders comes to end – that should be our hope.

 

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