[What Did Jaci Think? Early August]

The Spy Who Dumped Me doesn’t entirely work, but it is damned fun despite the shockingly high body count for a buddy comedy. It has a male lead who I guess is somebody (sorry, everyone, I can’t watch all the shows) but to me was basically B-list Alexander Skarsgard. But it moves like the dickens even when it makes no sense, and it does have Kate McKinnon having chemistry with every lady, so it is super gay. Which was absolutely what we all need, to be sure. The way in which it centers the female friendship all the way through is the sort of thing I’m starved for as a viewer. (Also, it made me want to go home and watch The Leftovers – at least “International Assassin” – for obvious reasons.)

Look. I know that Christopher Robin got so-so reviews, and I get it, but if you also needed to hear Ewan McGregor declare repeatedly that he is not a heffalump, this is the movie for you. It’s not a movie for kids, it is a movie accidentally about worker’s rights, and it was exactly what I needed that day. These things happen.

I need someone who liked Araby to explain it to me. The film opens by introducing a small, struggling family in a Brazilian factory town, but once we’ve become invested in them, it switches to the story of one of the workers. That story was a lot less compelling, largely because so much of it was told in voiceover (which very possibly lost something in translation). Also, I kept waiting to return to the opening story, but that never happens, except a small glimpse of the family from the worker’s point of view. I wondered throughout why we were being told this story, which is never a great sign.

I saw The Miseducation of Cameron Post during SIFF, but couldn’t resist catching it again during its theatrical run. It’s still excellent, & I particularly appreciated that it was largely a queer friendship story (including two qpoc!) and that it wasn’t a coming out or questioning story. Cameron knows exactly who she is, and she stays still & firm in herself, knowing that it’s the world that’s wrong, not her. As we’ve talked about before, I grew up in a house that collected information on conversion therapy. This wasn’t an abstract threat then, and it still isn’t today (hello far right Catholics; I see everything). Bonus points for including a fat girl who’s sexuality isn’t a joke.

No one needs to hear a white girl talk about BlacKkKlansman, so I’ll just mention a few things. One, the present day footage at the end is a knockout. One of the things I hated about last year’s Detroit is how it let white people off the hook and gave the impression that the racism in it was a thing of the past, but Lee using old Hollywood footage to open and current news footage to close makes it clear: this is still happening, and white people are just as culpable now. Second, I was particularly struck by Adam Driver’s character. He’s Jewish, but not religious, and had always thought of himself as white, but: “Now I think about it all the time”. It resonated, as it echoed thoughts I’ve heard from friends during and after the 2016 election.

On a much lighter note, Crazy Rich Asians is just the best. Frothy, joyful romcom centered on real emotions surrounding identity and family. This is my kind of escapism, & I am ready for more. (I’m also ready to buy the soundtrack as soon as it’s available on CD because I am ancient.)