Tuesday, July 10, 2018

12 Years A Slave= I need a drink!

Yesterday, I took a long nap to make up for the sleep I lost during my "Night Moves".  When I woke up from my nap, there were guys out in the street doing very loud construction work involving jackhammers.  Realizing I couldn't go back to sleep with that racket going on, I decided to see what was on German Netflix.  I noticed the offerings have expanded quite a bit lately.  One film that was available, perhaps for the first time I've noticed, was the 2013 historical drama 12 Years A Slave.

The prelude to one of the most horrifying scenes in the movie.

I think I knew the movie would be sad.  I'm sure I had an inkling that parts of it would be intense.  However, I have to admit, I was taken aback by a few of the crueler scenes in this film.  As I was watching it, I remembered that back when it was first released, some news outlets had reported that Madonna had gone to see it in a movie theater.  She was reportedly texting and annoying fellow film buffs at the Walter Reade Theater in New York City.  Alamo Drafthouse, which is known for its strict policies against misbehaving moviegoers, has allegedly banned Madonna for life from its premises.  Madonna probably has her own movie theater at home, so I doubt it matters to her.  She supposedly left the theater in tears after watching the film, even though she was texting.

Anyway, I didn't see the movie when it was first released.  I don't typically go to the movies very often.  I think if I had seen this film on the silver screen, it would have seriously made me cry.  Parts of it are just brutal, even though I know from my African American lit course in college that what was shown on screen was probably just the tip of the iceberg as to what happened during the slavery era.  I read a whole lot of slave narratives for that class as well as my Women in Literature class.  I know from reading those books that the slave era was an especially horrible time in American history, especially in the South.

In any case, as sad and heavy as the film was, it did have a somewhat happy ending.  The story of Solomon Northrup's twelve years enslaved was turned into a successful book written by the man himself.  He later went on to help other black people escape slavery via the Underground Railroad.  His death is a mystery, though.  No one knows where he is buried or what caused his demise.  Chiwetel Ejiofor did a masterful job portraying Solomon Northrup.

I didn't cry when I watched 12 Years a Slave, but it did make me feel kind of horrible.  I poured myself a beer and watched Grease, which is a lot less harrowing.  On the other hand, it occurs to me that I was six years old when Grease was in theaters and it just recently turned 40 years old.  Where does the time go?  I'm sure that before I know it, I'll be 80... if I don't keel over because of something besides old age.

Grease also has its poignant movies, as Stockard Channing as Rizzo realizes that people think she's a tramp.  The movie is actually about a rather serious topic-- teen pregnancy and unprotected sex-- but it's covered up by musical numbers, double entendres, and guys mooning the camera.  I also downloaded Grease 2, which I think I saw before I watched the original.  Grease 2 is a pretty vapid sequel, but it has some entertaining moments... except when Michelle Pfeiffer tries to sing.

I'm looking forward to Thursday, which is when we head to Ireland for our concert on Friday.  Hopefully, we'll have good weather.  It'll be nice to get out of Germany for a few days.  As much as I like living here, sometimes a change of scenery is welcome.

I do recommend 12 Years A Slave, but be prepared to be shocked by cruelty.


  1. Replies
    1. It had a fairly happy ending, though, relatively speaking.


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