Good Night, and Good Luck, Taxi Driver, & USWNT

Good Night, and Good Luck – George Clooney directs the film about the late Ed Murrow, and his takedown of Senator Joe McCarthy. Murrow was a terse writer, blunt and calculated in his attacks. The movie’s tone matches that to some degree and so does the film’s message. Joe McCarthy and others like him were wrong, and this film makes no concessions on that. It is interesting to see the work place and how it operated. Clooney does a great job of immersing you in the moment, using black and white as well as old clips to really immerse people in the atmosphere of television in the time period.  Unfortunately, there is not that much to be gained from this movie that could not already be learned. It is a good film, but not a great one, and one that does not entirely justify its existence. With that said, every single person should watch Murrow’s full newscast on McCarthy. It is still brilliant. 7/10

Taxi Driver In Taxi Driver, Senator Palantine’s campaign slogan is “we are the people”, implying that he is among the people who suffered in Vietnam and who have suffered as a country. Does he really understand what the people have gone through, does he know his people?

This movie has been a cornerstone in the film industry forever, and one of the main reasons is how it challenges the idea that anyone can no what some of us are going through. Travis Bickle is a unique character, defined by his loneliness and his social ineptitude. His loneliness is relatable, his social ineptitude causes him problems. That seems to be the story of his life and it makes Bickle do horrible things.

This film is not only about capturing a character but about capturing a moment, and it does so very well. While it can stall and meander, it is a worthwhile watch for any film fan, and for anyone trying to get a sense of Post-Vietnam America. 8.5/10

This USWNT is a team we do not deserve, but one we are so fortunate to get. They were incredible throughout and today’s final was emblematic of a team performance. Rose Lavelle also gets to have an incredible moment and score in a World Cup Final. An incredible group and an incredible team. Congratulations USWNT! Live it up!

KAWHI AND PG! I MUST BE DREAMING!

If this is a dream, I do not want to wake up. Today, Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers and Paul George is getting traded to the Clippers. OH MY GOD!!!

I shall not bore you with the story of my everlasting love for the LA Clippers, as courtly and as beautiful as it may be. I will tell you that it is genuinely shocking to be in this moment. When I first fell in love with the team, The Clippers were the laughing stock of the NBA. No one came to games. Clipper Daryl would scream his heart out, and the 30 other people in the arena would respond with glory. When Lob City came to LA, the momentum of the franchise shifted drastically. That momentum however, was halted by an owner too ignorant to admit he was wrong.

Steve Ballmer set things in a new direction, and he hired Jerry West. West brought with him a vision of an organization that could win a title. Now that organization is finally here.

I cannot say enough about the Clippers team this past year. Everyone wanted to talk about LeBron and the new look Lakers. It never bothered this group. This team showed grit and determination when no one even paid attention. They came and gave the Warriors a run for their money, and showed impressive heart throughout the year. A team led by two guys coming off the bench, found new hope. I also cannot say enough about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari, both of whom played their hearts out this year. Shai and Danilo will continue to do great things and I am excited to see their futures in Oklahoma City.

Today is a day that has been years in the making. The Lob City years were great, but our shot at winning the title was never really tangible. Today, the possibility of winning a title feels real. Clipper Nation, this year is our year.

 

Toy Story 4 & A Book Review I wrote

Toy Story 4 – This movie is another great addition into the Pixar canon and for whatever reason I doubted it. The third movie seemed like the perfect conclusion to the series. Making a fourth film just seemed like a money grab.

In spite of my fears, this movie completely justifies its existence and hits every beat. The fact that we have seen these characters and this group so many times, definitely takes away from the wonder and excitement of the first few films. Even with that, the movie glides with such confidence and fun, its hard not to feel yourself falling back into the traps of that world.

It also finds ways to play with the conventions of good and evil, allowing for empathy and understanding. It gives time for toys to discover themselves, and what brings them together. This movie never treats its audience as stupid, but still gives ample amount of fun for even the smallest of children.

Calling this a kids movie is selling it short. It is a movie appropriate for kids that can be enjoyed by all. The best Pixar movies are more powerful for adults, and Toy Story 4 is no different. While some of the initial charm from the series is taken away, this movie is still a must-see for any Pixar fan. 9/10

The author does a terrific job of simplifying and defining the dilemma, but the rest of the book misses multiple opportunities to address it.

I have been working as an intern for the Washington Examiner and got to write a book review on Tyler Cowen’s book Big Business. Please check it out! I will be trying to see more movies this summer so I will be coming back with more reviews so stay tuned for those as well.

USWNT vs. France Reaction, The Democratic Debate, & A Fascinating Abortion Article

If you did not watch the USWNT game against host nation France in the World Cup I can give you the summary: these women from the U.S. are absolute badasses.

France had home-field advantage, with the momentum to match. This was the most talented team that the U.S. women had ever faced on the world stage. Many thought this was the time France would finally overtake the U.S. Not only did the U.S. women never get rattled, they controlled the game from start to finish. Calling it impressive is an understatement. These women were giants.

It is hard to single out one girl on the pitch because all of them were incredible. Megan Rapinoe continues to be an American Hero, willing this team further and further still with two goals and an endless fighting spirit. Crystal Dunn was not on the world cup team in 2015, and this game yesterday was the biggest game of her career. She stepped up big time on the defensive end. Alex Morgan did not score a goal, but found ways to open up her teammates and broke down the French back line.

Those are just a few performances from what was ultimately a team victory. I do not know how much this group will get paid, nor do I care about that right now. What I know is this team is capable of giving me just as much joy as any other team I support. They may not be as “good” as the guys but to me it does not matter. It is impossible not to feel an immense surge of pride when Megan Rapinoe scored from a set-piece, and gave a celebration worth a thousand words. I love this team, and I wish them the best against England in the semifinal.

I could never in a million years vote for Donald Trump. So my question to Democrats is: Will there be a candidate I can vote for?

[The Democrats] are competing for the support of the angry voters they read on Twitter—overlooking the many millions of people uniquely available to the non-incumbent party in what should be a pro-incumbent cycle.

The first quote is from David Brooks. Sometimes, I wonder if I could just give my thoughts over to Brooks and just let him take over. He would probably say what I am feeling, just in a slightly more eloquent way. The other is from David Frum, another David I think highly of. Both summarize my overall opinion on the debate very well: the democrats should worry.

Incumbency is a powerful force, and even though Donald Trump is so disliked, he is still the favorite. In a year where the incumbent is this disliked however, there are plenty of available voters toward the middle who have no idea who to vote for. Yet, with the exception of Joe Biden, John Hickenlooper and a few others, the democrats seemed determined to feed their base. This strategy will most likely not work.

In terms of policy proposals and experience, Biden seems best prepared to take the mantle and win the election. Yet, when it comes to debates and personal attacks, he seems ill-prepared. If he cannot handle a prepared line from Kamala Harris, how can he possibly handle the barrage of attacks from Trump? This would not be horrible, if there were other candidates who could take the nomination who held similar views. Most of the candidates however, seem more left of center than ever before.

The person who is probably best equipped to handle attacks from Trump is Harris. But like the most of the candidates onstage, she has endorsed things that could spell trouble for her down the line. She raised her hand to endorse public insurance over private insurance and hedged later, she (along with everyone on stage) endorsed giving illegal immigrants healthcare. She also showed an unwillingness to work with other branches. If congress won’t do their job the way I want, I will sign an executive order and make sure they are doing it the way I want. This is a bad way to govern, even if it has been done before and feels right.

It is possible that the electorate is genuinely more polarized than ever. It is possible that this strategy will work. But I find it hard to believe. I really hope Donald Trump is not president in 2021. If this continues, I will not be surprised if my hope does not come true.

 

We weren’t just talking about nausea and swollen feet and low back pain. She and I are abortion doctors. We routinely perform procedures well into our patients’ second trimester, when the fetus is well-formed and easily recognizable as humanlike, even “life”-like. Baby-like.

Abortion is an issue I have struggled with in some respects, especially as I have moved through the conservative world. Writing for a conservative paper this summer, I am practically the only one who is pro-choice. My reasons for supporting the position have changed but my views have not. Yet, it is fascinating to hear so many arguments that disagree with my own.

This article, written by an abortion doctor who became a mother, is enlightening. Abortion is often treated as clear-cut by whoever argues for whatever side. It is going to be tricky, even for the people tasked with doing this. For this women she has to believe that she is in the right. Yet, there is still guilt.

When we forget how emotional these situations can be for so many, and treat people who disagree with us as the problem, we take the seriousness out of the issue. I believe women have the right to decide if a baby lives or dies within them, because they are the caretakers of the species. But with all of that said, do I understand why many are so angry and upset by abortion practices? Of course I do.

Ken Burns’s The Vietnam War

Sometimes, I think if we thought we weren’t always the good guys, we might actually get into less wars. – Karl Marlantes

The Vietnam War is an incredibly consequential point in our history, and a period I lacked knowledge in. I had been avoiding watching Ken Burns documentary on the period, because of how much time it would take it. 17 hours of rousing and brilliant storytelling later and I regret not watching it earlier.

The Vietnam War captures the instability, the insanity, and the uproar while finding times for stories of smaller scale. The blending of the general plot with little subplots along the way make it feel so much more emotionally rewarding. From Karl Marlantes to Hal Kushner, to big names like Tim O’Brien and smaller but very important ones like John Musgrave, each talking head comes to life.

To me this is an incredibly important series, one that goes beyond politics and delivers a searing account of an important point in our history. If you have never seen this, it is worth every minute of the 17 hour run time. 10/10

 

 

The Toronto Raptors Earned This

Congratulations to The Toronto Raptors on an incredible season. This NBA postseason was genuinely thrilling for the first time in years, and I enjoyed every second.

When Kawhi was first traded I was initially critical. Trading the face of the franchise for a guy who could bolt to Los Angeles the next year seemed like a mistake. However, you have to credit Masai Uriji for taking a huge risk. Kawhi bought in immediately to the Raptors program, and made the trade worth it.

I also cannot say enough about Kawhi Leonard’s leadership. Watching him off the court, his stoicism seems off-putting. Who would want to play with this guy? Does he have fun on the weekends? Whatever impression that may give off, that combination of calmness and tenacity inspires his teammates to be their best selves. His attitude and self-belief sets an example for everyone to follow. In the past, going down to the Magic 1-0, being down to the Sixers 2-1, would have all been reasons for the Raptors to cave. His unflappability is what this team needed, and Kawhi has helped them emulate that attitude. That installment of belief into this team is the defining difference between the Raptors of past years and the Raptors of this year. Kawhi deserves all of the credit in the world for that.

Leonard’s future remains unclear as my beloved Clippers seem to be in his sights. While I would love him to be a member of my team, I can totally understand why he would want to stay. He has an entire country behind him, and is in a winning situation. Regardless, I am incredibly happy for Toronto and I am happy to see them be crowned champions.

Burning & Elizabeth Warren

Burning – One of last year’s most critically acclaimed films, Burning has a quiet rage stemming throughout. It operates in subtleties, in many ways akin with Korean culture. It manages to carry weight without expressing it full stop. It is a good movie, but its story failed to really connect with me. It has some great performances and a story that cuts deep. It takes too long to develop, and really lost me at points. I enjoyed its undertones and deep seated anger, but I wish it was more polished. 7.5/10

In short, where Sanders seeks to steer capitalism toward socialism, Warren is bent on saving capitalism for all—and from itself.

The Bulwark, a site dedicated to Anti-Trump conservatives, is one of the most interesting sites to read right now. This Bulwark article discusses Elizabeth Warren’s importance in this election, an area which I had never really considered. Warren’s proposals are radical, from free college to massive increases in childcare. However, her ability to create so many policy proposals in such a short time span, have left others playing catch-up.

To hear about her importance from a conservative publication is particularly striking, especially considering how much she differs from conservative thought. Her proposals in many ways stem in the opposite direction from what many on the right hope to obtain from capitalism. Yet what this article recognizes is the importance of specificity. Her proposals create genuine conversations, where most candidates are merely running on an idealized version of what they would “like” to see for the country and themselves. While I may not vote for Warren in the end, her candidacy is still very important and I am glad that it is being treated that way.

Get Out, Widows, & IGOR

Get Out – Jordan Peele’s first film I had avoided because I was afraid. I am really disappointed that I did, as this film is not focused on being scary. Rather it is focused on its social commentary, a welcome relief. The beginning build up is slow but incredibly well done, as it keeps us engaged with what will happen next. The finale is a bit over the top, and the story itself goes a bit overboard. That does not take away from what this film accomplishes, as it manages to be a fun and engaging horror with commentary to make it unique. Jordan Peele is a man of the pop culture moment, and it is understandable why this film elevated his status. 7.5/10

Widows – This was a film I wanted to see last year but unfortunately was unable to. This movie does a terrific job at being tight and ratcheting up emotion without using too much dialogue. It is also a unique Heist movie, as it forces characters into a heist rather than make them willful participants. It gives a heist film plenty of emotional weight, making it that much more rewarding than I expected. It also tells an incredibly complex story, but one that is deeply satisfying. My biggest complaint is that its tightness works against the film, as it is simply too complicated to compress. Complicated plots lead to subplots which lead to more subplots. I wish there were more time to really explore this but it simply runs out of time. This would have made for a terrific TV miniseries, but instead it is a very good movie, one still worth seeing even if it can be a bit confusing. 8/10

This album is so pretty, confident, and considered that you wonder why he named it IGOR. Tyler, the Creator’s not a freak or a goblin or a monster anymore.

I love Tyler, The Creator and with his release of his new album IGOR he begins to reshape his style after coming out of the closet on Flower Boy. His maturity is beginning to show, which is a much appreciated step since his days with Odd Future. One of my favorite parts of this album is how he plays with different gender roles, and attempts to craft a new persona. Particularly the music video for the song “Earfquake,” shows him playing with stereotypes and ideas that are brilliant.

However, I still wish he had an edge, and I miss it on this album. It is still a great project full of terrific songs, but it is about their artistic quality and less about Tyler’s emotions. Tyler’s emotions are what I find the most captivating, and that is sorely lacking on IGOR Part of what attracted me to Tyler was his deep-seated anger, and how he dealt with it.  In my favorite album of his, Wolf, he brilliantly fluctuated between anger and appreciation, struggling to put his feelings into music.  This album feels earned after the success and sincerity of Flower Boy, and I am glad that he has begun to figure out how to be happiest. I just miss some of the edge that got him famous in the first place, and I wish it was more present here.  

Tottenham Hotspur is going to the Champions League Final!

I have had some time now to process the moment that brought me to tears today. Tottenham have been having a tough season, struggling with a tired and beaten down squad. Yet at the beginning of today Tottenham found themselves still with a chance to advance to a Champions League Final, which would be a remarkable feat for Mauricio Pochettino and his Spurs.

When the game first started Ajax quickly got out to a lead making the aggregate deficit seem impossibly large. At the end of the first half, the score on aggregate was 3-0. It seemed insurmountable. Yet, the second half seemed to give Tottenham more life, and they quickly pounced on the opportunity. Lucas Moura found the back of the net twice in four minutes, changing the complexion of the game. After those two goals however, Tottenham seemed destined to lose. Everything was close but not quite going in. Then in the last minute of stoppage time, Lucas Moura pulled out the sweetest of finishes to complete his hat trick and advance to the Champions League Final on away goals.

How lucky we are to be entertained by such brilliance. Liverpool yesterday did the impossible, and today Tottenham did something even more spectacular. It is hard to put into words just how gratifying this is. This Pochettino team has been the best Tottenham Squad in recent memory, and yet have not been able to get near a trophy. Now they are just one win away from the biggest trophy in Europe. 

Ajax deserve all the credit in the world for there performance throughout this season. They are an incredibly talented and gifted young side with so much heart and spirit. They should be proud of the season they had, and all of the players on that team have an incredibly bright future.

With that said, it is hard not to feel immense pride for my favorite team. Now just one game against Liverpool is between us and the Champions League trophy. June 1st cannot come soon enough.

Ash is Purest White & Dentistry

Ash is Purest White – This movie was not made for me or many of the people that read this blog. However, it is full of beautiful movements and moving historical portraits of Chinese Society. Watching the transition of Bin and Qiao from confident and smooth to brutalized and chiseled is genuinely fascinating to watch. I also loved Zhao Tao as Qiao; she captures the transformation of Qiao beautifully. Watching her sacrifice and struggle to save a dying relationship is brilliant and heartbreaking.

My biggest problem with this movie is that it is too slow. It can feel dragging and it requires a deep knowledge of Chinese History to understand all of the themes. Much is touched upon outside of the relationship between Qiao and Bin, mainly the change of China itself. Without it, many of the sweeping and slow-developing themes are hard to understand. While part of the joy in this movie is about thinking and reading upon it after, I have to be honest to my experience in the theater. There were times when I just wanted the movie to end. I would check my watch, groan, and continue. Some of this is by design, as you can feel the change in their relationship slowly grind to a halt. However, it is a stylistic choice that breeds boredom. Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame is nearly 30 minutes longer, and yet it never felt as if it was slow or dragging. This movie felt much longer. However, for the right audience, this film is a must-watch. It is not an easy movie to enjoy but if you spend the time with it, you will be rewarded. 7.5/10

Fluoridation of drinking water seems to help reduce tooth decay in children, but there is insufficient evidence that it does the same for adults. Some data suggest that regular flossing, in addition to brushing, mitigates gum disease, but there is only “weak, very unreliable” evidence that it combats plaque. As for common but invasive dental procedures, an increasing number of dentists question the tradition of prophylactic wisdom-teeth removal; often, the safer choice is to monitor unproblematic teeth for any worrying developments.

I hate the dentist and I am sure I am not alone. I have always been lazy about oral hygiene, so part of my interest in this article is my need to undermine dentistry in any way. However, this article points out plenty of troubling problems with dentistry. Oral hygiene is certainly important, but if we cannot guarantee a certain level of quality from dentistry we need to seriously question how we should take care of our teeth. Even if you love the dentist, this is a brilliant article worthy of a read.