The Top 10 Films of 2013

12 Years a Slave

12YAS-Poster-ArtSteve McQueen’s third film (following Hunger and Shame) and a bona fide masterpiece, 12 Years is an unflinching, uncompromising look at slavery in the American south. It’s painful and emotionally harrowing, and makes no attempt to make anyone feel good about not only this history but the long-reaching effects of it, which we’re still feeling today. 12 Years is not The Help, congratulating white people for ending racism in 1962. Instead it holds up a mirror to an ugly, unavoidable truth and asks only that we accept it and then figure out how to move on from there. It’s a beautiful film, almost lyrical at times, even for all the ugliness it contains. And with a central message of hope and survival in the face of soul-crushing despair, it’s one that, even though there are no easy answers, doesn’t give up on the possibility of healing. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s a necessary one. Continue reading “The Top 10 Films of 2013”

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Gravity: Everything is pointless and we all die alone

gravity-movie-posterI wish I could remember the name of the article, or at least the philosopher who wrote it, but I once read a contemporary philosophical theory about the brain’s role in determining our humanity. Basically the theory goes that humans are obsessed with coincidences, that we define ourselves, as individuals and groups, by stringing together coincidences to create bonds, e.g. “You like the color blue? I like the color blue, too! We’re super best friends.” This is a false construct based on a completely random happenstance but we deem it significant because it gives us a sense of community, to share something that is as inherently individual and arbitrary as one’s personal tastes. Continue reading “Gravity: Everything is pointless and we all die alone”