Sunday, November 24, 2019

Movie Review: Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit is weird and wacky and funny; as such, it's probably not a movie for everyone. I expect some critics and audiences will view it the way they viewed Life Is Beautiful, which is that movies about World War II should not include humor. I disagree. I think humor done right can be appropriate. In the case of "Jojo Rabbit," humor is a natural offshoot of its perspective; that is, it's a look at Nazi Germany through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy whose imaginary friend is his idol, Adolf Hitler. Hitler comes off as a bumbling idiot through most of the movie, and in that way, I think it's cathartic. We often read that Hitler was a great orator, a master manipulator. In this movie, we get a chance to mock him and laugh at him and watch a heartfelt story about a boy who is smarter than him in so many ways.

I found myself laughing quite a bit during this movie simply from the absurdity of it all. The tone is similar to a Wes Anderson film -- vibrant and strange and unbelievable -- but in my opinion, it has more heart, which makes the absurdity endearing. It also almost made me forget that I was watching a movie about Nazi Germany, so that when there were hard scenes, they were all the more poignant. Perhaps that's why the humor didn't bother me and was actually necessary -- it lulled me into a false sense of happiness, only to snap me back to reality and remind me that the Holocaust was real, and World War II destroyed the lives of countless people, good Germans included.

So to sum up: I loved it. I'm sure I'll watch it again and probably in the theater -- that's how good I thought it was. You should watch it, too.

Thing I'm thankful for: storytelling through film. It's my favorite medium of education and entertainment. It speaks to me in a way that nothing else can -- not TV, not radio, not plays, not musicals, not operas, not even books. I love it.

Friday, November 08, 2019


Mom posted this on the family Hangout today. It brought me to tears. We're all so proud of dad. And he looks pretty spiffy in his sweatsuit and Nikes!

Thing I'm thankful for: physical therapists!

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Thing I'm Thankful For

I know; it's been a long time. Three things stopped me from posting: 1) Work has been really busy this year; 2) I forgot my password to sign into Blogger, which should've been easy because it's connected to my Gmail account, but it wasn't; and 3) I didn't know what to say.

I'll only address the third thing.

I've had ideas to share, and I've even started a few posts, but once I started writing, they just didn't seem . . . important? Somehow? But maybe I've been taking myself too seriously for the last couple of years. I think that's to be expected. Here's why:
  1. I had two major surgeries last year. For a couple of weeks after each surgery, I couldn't urinate on my own. I couldn't have a bowel movement easily, and I couldn't take quick showers or walk at a speed that even slightly resembled "fast."
  2. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease this summer, and not long after -- very recently, in fact -- he had a heart procedure that caused a massive stroke. As a result, he can't swallow well enough to drink or eat. He can't stand on his own or walk, and he can't go to the bathroom on his own. He also can't shower or be left alone, really, for any length of time while he's awake.

I'm not complaining. I'm simply pointing out that life is physically hard, and when life is physically hard, so many things seem pointless. So many things seem like they're not worth saying or doing.

But also. When life is physically hard, so many things in life seem amazing. For example, I am not kidding when I say that having a bowel movement is something I am utterly grateful for each time it happens. I'm also supremely happy that I can get up, walk to the bathroom, and urinate on my own. My dad, too, is improving a little each day. At least, that is what I gather from my mom's texts on the family Hangout:
  • "He opened his eyes today!"
  • "He is swallowing!"
  • "Hey, he is singing!"
  • "Dad sat in bedside commode and peed in urinal."
  • "He stood inside parallel bars alone today."
My favorite thing is when he opens his eyes. He looks around at everything just like a baby does -- not really focusing for too long on anything, but slowly looking at interesting objects and people. It seems like he is rediscovering the world, and yet, we can't ask him, "What is it like to discover the world again, dad?" Well, he wouldn't be able to tell us, anyway. The closest I've gotten was when he was in the ICU, mumbling about something nonsensical.

"Dad," I asked, "Does it feel like you're in between dreaming and waking?"
"Something like that," he answered.

And that was the end of the conversation.

I'm so grateful for a physical body -- for having an instrument through which I can accomplish so many things. The human body is so precious, delicate, resilient, and strong. I'm in awe every day of the things I have taken for granted for so many years: blinking my eyes, being able to close my mouth, smiling, waving, blowing my nose, having fingernails and hair, seeing and hearing, feeling pain and reacting.

I'll try to be less serious and a bit more fun-loving as the days, weeks, and months wear on, but for now, let this post be one big thing I'm thankful for.