Thursday, November 19, 2009

Passing On 'Precious'

I'm not going to see "Precious."

Back in the '90s, I knew several people who had read (or attempted to read) "Push," the novel "Precious" is based on. To be fair, I'm one of those people who can't stomach stories, real or imagined, about child abuse. Reviews and word of mouth convinced me that I was the wrong audience for a story about a morbidly obese girl who is repeatedly raped by her father, impregnated with his children, and subjected to depraved acts at her mother's hand. It's not that I didn't know those things happened (I was a newspaper reporter, after all), but I had zero desire to be immersed in that world in my down time.

The Washington Post's Courtland Milloy said it better than I can, but I just don't see the value in watching this hellish story play out on the big screen. I'm all for tackling hard truths through art, but I have a hard time believing that "Precious" will do anything to make a difference in the lives of real-life abuse victims. Plus, there's something deeply grating about the idea of a privileged film festival audience seeing this movie and gasping, "How powerful! I had no idea this world of ghetto tragedy existed!"

There's a valid argument that "Precious" represents a thoughtful alternative to movies about African-American men dressed in drag and adaptations of ham-fisted stage plays. (Irony! Tyler Perry is one of the big names promoting "Precious.") But are those my only choices if I want to see a movie with more than two black people in it?

Sorry, Oprah. I can't go down this road with you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Goat's Mustache is Cameron Diaz

I really want to meet the person responsible for casting "Community," because he or she is a genius. It's no surprise that Joel McHale and Chevy Chase are funny, but Danny Pudi is a real find as the intense, unfiltered Abed, who appears to have Aspergers. As sketchy as that sounds, there's nothing pitiful or mean about the way Abed's quirks play out on "Community" — especially since most of the characters are odd ducks. I definitely see shades of my son J. in Abed, and it's great to see that represented in a genuinely funny way.

For the record, J. gets a kick out of Abed's shenanigans, and the above clip is one of our favorites. Major props to my friend V. for turning me on to this show.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Michelle and Me!

Well, this is pretty doggone cool. The folks behind Mrs. O, the lovely blog devoted to Michelle Obama's style, have written a book, "Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy" — and yours truly is quoted in it! I've written hundreds of articles, editorials and essays over the years, but this may excite my mom more than anything I've ever done.

A while back, Mrs. O readers were invited to offer their thoughts on what makes the first lady a style icon. I wish I could remember exactly what I wrote, but it was something about how she helped make fashion seem more accessible. I understand the fantasy aspect of clothing design, but a lot of the stuff coming down the runway has nothing to do with the average American woman's needs. OK, Michelle Obama isn't exactly average, but her clothes are both stylish and grounded in reality. She has her pick of designers, but she also wears clothes from J. Crew, Target and White House/Black Market.

This is probably as close as I'll ever get to Michelle Obama (or Michael Kors, included in a full Q&A), but I'm stoked. Thanks, authors!