between the folds

I love how Netflix offers suggestions for my movie queue. Whoever designed the algorithm is a genius. I’ve found so many good picks or they’ve found me. The latest is Between the Folds, a documentary on origami of all things.

As a Japonophile I knew that there’s more to origami than the frogs and birds kids learn to make. Between the Folds shows artists and even scientists who use origami and explore new possibilities with paper. At just 55 minutes, the film explores how and why these Westerners got into origami. Their creations were beautiful and the process is often mesmerizing.

Glee Finale

I really enjoyed last year’s finale and the second to last Glee episode “Funeral.” I did approach this week’s finale with some big, though not huge or impossible expectations. While it was fun to see the kids in New York and to see Finn and Rachel’s relationship inch ahead sweetly, I was disappointed. Will’s Broadway dreams plotline was never convincing. What else was there? The music was okay, but they’ve done better like in the Original Song episode.

When Will checked into the Intercontinental and the desk clerk cited the entire name of the hotel, I thought “product placement”. Also, they wouldn’t stay there $659 plus tax a night (figure $700). There are cheaper options. It might have been fun to have them stay in a dive. Especially since it’s television and no one actually has to stay in the dive.

This year there may not have been as much that needed to happen right now. Last year, they had Quinn’s pregnancy, a huge thing for a teen, and her mother who kicked her out suddenly shows up. Rachel and her mother adopting Quinn’s baby, Finn announcing that he loved Rachel and the disbanding of the club if they lost made the competition make it or break it. Everything was at stake, whereas this year little was. Sue wasn’t even in the episode!

The tepid plot could have been warmed up somehow. There are loads of people I’d like to see but we never have — bring on Rachel’s two dad’s. They would be there. I’ve willingly suspended my disbelief that they don’t hover, but really let’s see them in season 3. There’s a potential gold mine.

I actually predicted they wouldn’t win this year and wish the writers would have dashed that expectation. Have them win now and lose next year. Winning comes with a load of possible problems down the road. Yet the group didn’t practice much, which I just didn’t buy, nor did I buy that Will would not have prepared them more.

We’ve all been to New York as TV viewers so that’s not enough for us. We need a strong story.

where’s the next Juno?

Few films blew me away like Juno, the story of a witty, perceptive pregnant teen. It was so fresh, so funny. After seeing it I naively hoped for a film revolution, a steady diet of such vibrant films. At the very least I’d hoped to see great film after great film written by Diablo Cody.

Actually there hasn’t been much from Cody. I did an internet search and learned that a horror film she wrote and a TV series she created have been released, but I had to do a search to find that out. Also, she wrote the script for Burlesque, which was panned. Not a good sign. I figure if her newer works were actually good, I’d hear some buzz.

the long goodbye, part 2

Will and Jada Pinkett Smith took the reins from Tom Hanks in the second installment of Oprah’s farewell extravaganza.

I couldn’t see the whole thing as I had to catch a train, but was again impressed with what I saw. It was one big name star after another interspersed with honors to Oprah who, for example, is responsible for supporting over 64,000 people’s continued education.

High points for me were Jerry Seinfeld’s bit on how Oprah provided husband training for him and Maria Shriver’s appearance. This show was taped right when the news of Arnold’s secret love child hit the news and I wouldn’t slight her one iota if Maria just told the producers I’m dealing with too much now to put on a happy face and participate. Gayle King could easily have done that part solo. Maria’s got chutzpah.

Kristen Chenoweth belted out a song and Beyoncé sang and danced about female empowerment wearing a skimpy outfit that sent a confusing message. I didn’t get to see the rest. I’m sure I would have shed a tear or two despite my disdain for such sentimentality. Oprah sure has influence.

The Long Goodbye

I watched first part of Oprah’s farewell extravaganza. I will say I got rather caught up in the mood. Like her, hate her or something in between, Oprah’s accomplished a lot. Last week she had a show with past guests including a moving piece on an African woman who’d been married away at 11 and forbidden to get an education, who eventually got a PhD in the U.S. despite incredible odds with Oprah’s help and inspiration.

Chicago Tonight is showing interviews from her early days this week.  Tonight they showed an interview with John Calloway. Oprah’s clothes and hair were nothing special. And I’m being generous realizing that the 1980’s while better than the 1970s were nothing to brag about.  It was just weird to see Oprah in 1984, a very confident woman, definitely egotistical who was on her way up, but not particularly philanthropic. It’s interesting to hear her describe her goals, which back then were ambitious, but really nothing compared to what she did accomplish.

From the Writer’s almanac

Seeing as I watched Bonnie and Clyde last week this seemed apt:

On this day in 1934, (May 23) Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow’s two-year crime spree ended when they were ambushed and shot by police in Gibsland, Louisiana. They met in 1930, when Bonnie was 20 and Clyde was 21, and fell in love almost instantly. Bonnie Parker had been a good student who won prizes for spelling and writing, but she dropped out at 15 and married a classmate. She and her young husband were estranged, mostly because he had spent the few years since their marriage in and out of jail. Clyde Barrow had committed a few robberies and stolen some cars, and was arrested soon after they met. He entered prison a wayward schoolboy and emerged two years later a hardened criminal, vowing to take revenge on the Texas correctional system.

The five members of the Barrow gang were nearly caught at a rented apartment in Joplin, Missouri, in 1933, but escaped after killing two lawmen who had come to arrest them. They left behind most of their possessions, though, including a roll of film and one of Bonnie Parker’s poems, “Suicide Sal.” The photos showed the Barrow gang clowning around and posing with their weapons, and it was the publication of the photographs and poem over the new national newswire that made them celebrities. They were really just small-time crooks, not career bank robbers, mostly robbing stores, restaurants, and gas stations; their take from any given job was never more than $1,500. But it was the Depression, and people felt oppressed by the banks, and it only took a couple of small-town bank robberies to give them a “Robin Hood” reputation among the down-and-out public. But after 13 murders—nine of them police officers—even the public turned on them.

The posse took no chances that they would pull off another daring and bloody escape, and began firing — about 130 rounds, total — as soon as they ambushed the outlaws’ car on a Louisiana back road. Crowds gathered immediately, snipping locks of hair and bits of blood-soaked clothes to sell as grisly souvenirs.

From Bonnie Parker’s most famous poem, “The Trail’s End”:
Some day they’ll go down together,
they’ll bury them side by side.
To few it’ll be grief,
to the law a relief
but it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.