Grits and Tamales

Life in the Deep South, by Gabriel Aguilera

2016 Odds and Ends

I have been away from this blog for more than a year. Frankly, I miss putting pen to paper in this format.

This Christmas season was good for the movies. I got to see Branagh’s Winter’s Tale, Tarantino’s Hateful 8, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The last I saw twice, including one outing with my adorable niece, Sarah. I rode in a car with her driving for the very first time. This was hard because when I see her I still see a two year old who loved her doting tio.

I saw Tarantino’s flick with Dolores, which was followed by a lovely Indian meal. I took a crew of nephews, my younger sisters, and my mom to see Branagh’s production, which aired live around the world from London.

I do not regret any of these choices for all were excellent, each special in its own way. Tarantino captures America’s polarized dysfunction in his effort and Star Wars its best hope. These two balance each other quite nicely.

This year, prompted by good friends on Facebook who suggested that it is the Bard’s best play. So in 2015 I wrestled with Winter’s Tale on Audio (Arkangel production) as well as the text. It is a fine hard-hitting comedy that barely qualifies as such — tragicomedy is more appropriate. I genuinely loved it but cannot agree with my friends that it is his best play. (Macbeth, Hamlet and Lear are indubitably better). But it is in my personal pantheon of best plays (also add the Henriad).

From among the three movies I saw, The Force Awakens was the most evocative and poignant. Both times I saw it my eyes grew mistier throughout and a lump grew in my throat. I saw the original Star Wars when I was 10, more or less.

The Force Awakens took me back to a time when I was a big dreamer albeit still an innocent one. It took me back to the lofty ambitions that were slowly coming to the surface and would burst forth during my hard and messy early adolescence. It breathed life to youthful memories and passions that do not easily stir.


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