I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.
Title: Shiva Baby Release Date: March 15, 2020 Director: Emma Seligman Production Company: Dimbo Pictures | It Doesn’t Suck Productions | Bad Mensch Productions | Thick Media | Neon Heart Productions | 7 Sennotts | Irving Harvey Summary/Review:
Danielle (Rachel Sennott) is a college senior who earns income as a sex worker. One Sunday she starts her day by hooking up with her sugar daddy Max (Danny Deferrar). Then she rushes off to join her parents, Debbie (Polly Draper) and Joel (Fred Melamed), for the funeral of a friend of the family she doesn’t know well. Gathering for shiva with the other mourners is uncomfortable enough with family and neighbors judging and gossiping about Danielle’s directionless life. Things get worse when other attendees include her acerbic ex-girlfriend Maya (Molly Gordon), and Max with his wife Kim (Dianna Agron) and their baby whom Danielle did not know existed.
Nearly the entire film is set in the claustrophobic setting of the the large household gathering and as you might expect full of awkward situations, especially since Danielle makes some very poor decisions. While humorous, it never becomes what I call “cringe comedy,” instead balancing the comedy with drama and even horror movie conventions. Oddly, while I’ve never been to a Jewish funeral or been involved in sugar dating, I found that this movie was nonetheless very relatable in the uncomfortable situations one finds oneself in as a young adult. The great direction and camera work helps accentuate the feelings of being trapped and in a fishbowl.
I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022. The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously. I
Note: Each week I’m choosing a year randomly and then deciding what album to listen to from that year. You can help by voting in the poll below! Next week’s year is
Album: Puberty 2 Artist: Mitski Release Date: June 17, 2016 Label: Dead Oceans Favorite Tracks:
Your Best American Girl
I Bet on Losing Dogs
“Your Best American Girl” was my introduction to Mitski. The guitar on the transition from the verses to chorus caused my soul to separate from my body. And yet, while I listened to and reviewed Mitski’s more recent albums Be The Cowboy and Laurel Hell, I’d never listened to Puberty 2. Which is a shame, really, because this may be the best of those three albums. The only problem with Puberty 2 is that it’s too short at 31:21!
Mitski’s distorted guitar dominates the album and yet it feels defiantly different from the indie rock sound it’s grown out of. A lot of different music styles are thrown into the mix but so smoothly that you can’t see the seams. How can this music be punk and ethereal simultaneously? Lyrically, the songs deal with the idea of adjusting to adulthood in one’s mid-twenties, needing to repress things to be “mature,” but burbling with emotion underneath. That all comes out in the music, but it’s cathartic rather than wallowing in self-pity.