As Coronavirus (still less deadly than flu) surpasses the death toll of the SARS viral outbreak, I wanted to share something I posted on Facebook recently, because I feel that it is important.
Please visit Chinatown, buy yourself some Chinese food, and support your local Chinese-owned businesses.
(Edit: Apparently there are also people declining Asian Uber drivers. Don’t.)
The media coverage and conversation surrounding Coronavirus has been couched in racism and xenophobia, even though livestock-transmitted diseases pop up all over the world. It’s just that when they pop up in Western countries we chalk it up to gaps in food regulation (witness mad cow, E coli, swine flu, and bird flu).
Maybe you’ve seen the video of a woman eating a bat that’s been circulating on social media. That video is from an island nation in Oceania, in 2016.
I don’t care how you feel about wildlife consumption/trading or even eating meat (I’m obviously not a big fan of either) but acting as though Coronavirus is deserved by it’s victims, by China, or by the Chinese is shameful. Using it as an excuse for feeding old stereotypes about Asians and “gross” meat consumption, for “othering” and avoiding Asians, is disgusting. And as the enforcement of US food and safety regulations continues to decline under our current president, it’s hypocritical.
We are at the penultimate! Which is great because I’ve pretty much closed in on my top 10 of 2019 (or at least as close as I will get until I manage to see certain hard-to-find things).
I did do a top 10 of 2018 this time last year, I don’t think I blogged it but it was definitely up on my Instagram and maybe Facebook.
But that doesn’t matter because this list is different!
Why? I’ve seen more of the 2018 films in the intervening year and, as I’ve had time and space to think on the films I saw earlier, surprising things have stuck with me while others have faded out a bit.
- A Quiet Place: A novel idea for a horror film, expertly executed. I’m looking forward to the sequel this year. Apart from the killer monsters with excellent hearing, it’s also about the importance of family, forgiveness, and sacrifice. And does anyone else have the hots for ingenuity in films? I love watching characters come up with resourceful solutions. It reminds me of when I obsessively read and reread Robinson Crusoe as a child.
- Hereditary: One of the best horror films of the modern era, more artful and deep than A Quiet Place. It has a lot of shock value on the first watch but is so multi-layered that it really rewards rewatches and interpretation. One of my favorite things about it is that even though the characters try to make the smart decisions, the non-stupid-horror-movie-character decisions, it’s not enough to save them.
- The Favourite: We talked about Yorgos Lanthimos yesterday, and, oh look, he made a psychologically twisted, erotically loaded costume drama. In other words, he made a film specifically for me.
- Spiderman: Into the SpiderVerse: It’s exciting, it’s fun, and it’s astoundingly beautifully animated.
- Bad Times at the El Royale: Weirdly prescient of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, down to similar soundtracks (Hush by Deep Purple is one of my favorite songs ever no lie), locations (Nevada/California), time periods (60s/70s), and plots (I see a murderous hippy cult leader). But if what you associate with Tarantino is non-stop violent action, this one is more Tarantino-y, despite not being the Tarantino film. Quite weird, quite overlooked. Look for Cynthia Erivo, Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, and Dakota Johnson.
- BlackKklansman: A suspenseful day comedy about a black man infiltrating the KKK. I’m going to marry both John David Washington and Adam Driver. And also Spike Lee. How was this only Spike Lee’s first Oscar win?
- Annihilation: A sci fi where the alien invader isn’t a ‘who’ so much as a ‘what’. Centered on women. With beautifully disturbing visuals and jarring perils.
- To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: A very warm and fuzzy-feeling teen drama that put Noah Centineo on the map. I believe this is another one that is getting a sequel this year.
- Game Night: Smart modern comedies are few and far between, but Game Night proves that when you get a good one it can be really really good.
- Upgrade: Wikipedia is describing this film as ‘cyberpunk action body horror’, which I’m not going to try to parse. Long story short, a paralyzed man goes on a revenge mission with a little help from a piece of implanted tech that allows him to move again- except of course that can’t be all that it does. Long story short, it’s excellent.
- Shoplifters: A Japanese drama film about the ties that bind a makeshift petty criminal family, it’s members assembled by need and necessity rather than by blood. It pulls your heart in all the best ways.
Honorable Mentions: Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, The Hate U Give, If Beale Street Could Talk, First Man, Incredibles 2, Eighth Grade, Ca You Ever Forgive Me?, Tully, Searching, Wild Rose, American Animals, Blindspotting, The Tale, Girl.
Haven’t Yet Seen:
Let’s just roll right in…