My Thoughts on Leaving Neverland

I watched Leaving Neverland this weekend, the documentary just released on HBO about the experiences of two men who were sexually abused by Michael Jackson. I hadn’t read anything about it, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch it. I am trying to cut back on the media noise that comes at me from all directions every day. Did I really need to watch a sensationalized story about a famous person that has nothing to do with me? Will it make me not be able to listen to Michael Jackson music any more?

Of course, I was curious, so I watched it.

It was VERY hard to watch. It deeply touched me, so I feel compelled to share my thoughts and encourage others to watch it. I believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to watch this documentary. It’s so well done and important.

I have never been sexually abused and don’t know anyone, personally, who has shared this with me. So, I don’t speak on this topic from personal experience, but Oprah weighed in on the “After Neverland” special and she does know what she is talking about. It’s really an amazing documentary.

Be warned, the movie gets in to very explicit details about how Michael Jackson seduced and sexually abused two young boys for many, many years. As I was listening to these graphic details I was thinking “Why is this going in to so much specific detail?”, “Why am I watching this?”, “Is this helpful or sensational?” These are visuals that I now have in my head that will haunt me for a very long time. They are powerful and disturbing, but they are important part of the story. And because they are so specific (and similar) they are undeniable.

There is no way, listening to these men, that you could not believe them, unless you are in deep denial yourself. The sexual abuse is part of a bigger story of seduction and manipulation. This is the story that is important to understand, because this is how it happens, over and over, to so many children (according to Oprah who knows what she is talking about.) Those boys were in love with Michael Jackson and didn’t believe that what was happening was wrong. He convinced them to lie in court about what happened to protect him. Michael Jackson designed and built his home to facilitate the seduction and sexual abuse of young boys. That is a lot of planning and foresight. He was not a good man.

After watching this documentary, I felt complicit, in a way, to what happened to those boys. I only vaguely remembered the accusations. I probably believed that they were true but I don’t remember thinking much about it and it didn’t effect my opinion of Michael Jackson or his music. We kept loving him and buying his music, and he kept doing it. He manipulated the world.

The second half of the documentary is focused on what happened to the men as they became adults. They had this deep secret that waged a battle between their subconscious and conscious minds. They described this battle so well and explained how having children of their own triggered something inside that made them finally realize what had happened to them.

1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse (National Center for Victims of Crime)

I encourage you to watch and listen to what these men have been courageous enough to share with the world. If there is something we can learn from this and bring in to our own lives to keep more children safe, it is worth 4 hours of being uncomfortable. Even if it means we can never listen to Michael Jackson music again. I thank Wade Robson and James Safechuck (and the boys who came forward before them) for their courage.


Searching for Sugar Man

I don’t watch many documentaries. It’s one of those things I think I should do (like take vitamins every day and read the NY Times more than once a month) but I don’t. This weekend, I did.

Searching for Sugar Man did win the Academy Award this year for Best Documentary, which was enough to get me to add it to my Netflix queue, but I didn’t move it to the top until one of my favorite people mentioned it on Facebook. (And in all honesty, last week I stupidly rented the third Twilight movie and had to turn it off after 10 minutes.  I needed to redeem myself with a higher brow pick. Even if only to myself.)

This movie is awesome. I can’t say too much because what made it especially awesome was knowing absolutely nothing about this Rodriguez fellow.

Here is what I can tell you.

This Bob Dylan-ish type musician (but maybe even better) made two albums right around the time I was born (1969/1970). The president of the record label at the time thinks Rodriguez (the Bob Dylan-ish guy) sold maybe 8 copies in the U.S.. The people who heard it thought it was amazing, but apparently Latin singers (even if they sound like Bob Dillon) were not selling in the U.S. at the time or for some reason unknown, he just didn’t take off.

A bootleg copy of his first album found its way to South Africa and somehow spread like wild fire and became the anthem for the Anti-Apartheid movement but NO ONE IN THE UNITED STATED KNEW! South Africa was not exactly announcing to the world that all of this was going on and this was before CNN and the Internet. I don’t even think they had television in South Africa at this time (this was in the movie, I think.) His albums sold something like 500 million copies in South Africa and NO ONE IN THE UNITED STATED KNEW! (someone was getting royalties but no one will admit it.)

Many years later, after the internet was invented, two guys in South Africa decide to find out more about this Rodriguez fellow.  They heard some crazy rumors about his death (that he killed himself on stage either by lighting himself on fire or shooting himself) but they  knew nothing else about him.

This movie is about their quest to learn more about their music idol, Rodriquez (who is bigger than Elvis in South Africa) and what they find out. It is a really good movie. I watched the whole thing and didn’t play Dots once. It is suspenseful, surprising, moving, and inspirational. And this guy’s music is not bad (and I am not a Bob Dylan fan.)

Watch it. It is totally worth 1 1/2 hours of your time.

Stuff I Liked and Didn’t Like This Week

Am I the only person who didn’t like Les Miserables? I do recall a couple of people saying it was long and depressing but they never said they didn’t like it. More than one person told me it was AMAZING.

I really didn’t like it. I almost fell asleep. It was REALLY long. I don’t think I liked the musical so I don’t know what I was thinking. Ann Hathaway has a beautiful voice. I liked her song and the song the brunette sang in the rain. That was pretty much all I liked about it. It just went on and on. I am almost bummed I spent three hours watching it today. Oh well.

What I did like was The Following. This is a good show. The premise in and of itself is really cool. A serial killer (who is in prison!) builds a cult following of people who will do anything he says. As you can imagine, these people are not doing good stuff. The star, Kevin Bacon, is an FBI agent who got kicked out of the FBI because of various things that happened when he originally caught this serial killer. Kevin Bacon is a dude. Way cooler than he was in Footloose (not that Footloose wasn’t cool for its time, kind of). In the pilot, the killer escapes and Kevin gets sucked back in to try to catch him. There is a lot of history there. What’s cool about it is that this is not just about catching the serial killer, they have to stop all of the people he is somehow talking in to doing crazy stuff! There are many twists and turns in the first episode and it does not end up the way you think it will. I was surprised and I like to be surprised. Looking forward to watching this one.

In other news Ben & Kate was benched. That is usually not a good sign. I have to admit, it’s been getting a little old for me.

I am behind on pretty much everything so I guess I better get to my TiVo…

Globe Thoughts

I did not get very far on my quest to watch more nominated films before the Golden Globes. I did watch Moonrise Kingdom which was cute but I did not love it like the three awesome flicks I talked about last week.

Here are a few of my thoughts on the Golden Globes after 24 hours to reflect:

  • Tina Fey and Amy Pohler were OK..not great. I preferred Ricky Gervais, but I think Kristen Wiig and Will Farrell would get my vote for next year.  Their bit was…hilarious.
  • Homeland..I told you to watch!  Are you watching? Wow, Claire captured Abhu Nazir 8 1/2 months pregnant?  Is there nothing that woman can’t do? She should win every year for everything.
  • Jennifer Lawrence is an amazing actress but she seems kind of like a bitch.  “I can’t believe I beat Meryl” it would have been cooler.  Basically, you have to at least pretend to be humble or you seem like a bitch.
  • …unless you are Jodie Foster.  Now, she did go on and on and could have formulated her thoughts better, BUT Jodie does not have to be humble. She has earned the right to rant if she wants to and she clearly does not give a crap.  She is still awesome in my book, and beautiful. (although, in my opinion, she would have been more beautiful with less eye makeup)
  • Michael Fox’s son looks exactly like him, and he also looked miserable.  Maybe it was nerves.
  • I prefer Kerry Washington’s Scandal hair to her “Cleopatra” hair
  • Katherine McPhee’s dress?  Hello!!!!  Half of my clothes are from Theory. Loved that dress.
  • How cute were Daniel Day Lewis and Hugh Jackman about their wives? Maybe I should be dating actors….sadly Georg Clooney IS still dating Stacey Keibler. Who told me they broke up?
  • And how cute was Daniel Day Lewis doing ET…OK, Amy and Tina had some funny moments.
  • Bill Clinton!!!!  That was pretty cool.  (That man is NOT attractive, FYI).  LOVE when Tina called him Bill Rodham Clinton!
  • The Argo thing was a shocker.  I really though Lincoln would win, (just like everyone else did.)  Argo was awesome though

I have a lot of movies to see.  Next weekend…Les Miserable.

Three Awesome Flicks

I have started my quest to see all of the 2013 Golden Globe nominated films. I just realized the Globes are next Sunday so there is no chance I will get it done by then, but here were my thoughts on the first three:

Argo – I saw this a while ago. I remember being on the edge of my seat. I had no memory of the actual events, and I assumed it would all turn out OK (because otherwise, it probably wouldn’t be a movie), but I was still in suspense  wondering how they were going to get out of there. (I love suspense!) I remember thinking to myself several times during the movie, “This is an amazing movie.” Ben Affleck is a talented dude. Loved it.

Silver Linings Playbook – this one hit close to my heart. I had a brother who was undiagnosed bi-polar and I think he would have loved this movie. He was romantic and sensitive and it would have been amazing to see him in a dance contest (but he would definitely rather have been watching any sporting event with my dad.) Regardless of my personal connection, the movie was really well done. I thought it dealt with mental illness realistically, for a comedy. I have seen my share of crazy and sometimes it is good to just laugh about it. You will definitely laugh, you will definitely cry, and you will find yourself rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles and a ballroom dance contest, and you will be in suspense! The relationship with Bradley Cooper and his Dad (Robert Dinero) was so sweet and that Katniss….awesome. It also has a fabulous romantic ending that I will not give away. This is another great movie.

Lincoln – as much as I loved the other two, I think this was my favorite of the three. I walked out of the theater feeling like I personally helped abolish slavery. I realize this is ridiculous, but I felt like, just by watching this movie, I was part of the process. When it started, I thought it might be boring and I had a hard time following all of the dialog, but once it kicked in, I was not bored for a minute.  Once again, because I am SO horrible with history, I knew that the 13th amendment was passed and that slavery was abolished, but I didn’t know the details of the timing with the end of the civil war and Lincoln’s assassination (even though I did watch Conspirator earlier this year!)

I suck, but Lincoln did not suck at all, and he did not give up! Slavery was abolished because of his sheer determination to do the right thing (assuming Spielberg told the story right.) One of my other goals for 2013 is to work on being a leader. I knew Lincoln was awesome but it was timely to see him in action,  a true inspiration for leadership. What was also cool was that Lincoln wore this blanket a lot of the time. If you visit me in my office, you will often find me wrapped in a pashmina (just a fancy blanket) because it’s usually freezing. Lincoln and I are like two peas in a pod. There is no way Daniel Day Lewis is not getting an Oscar for this role. No way.

I do need to understand the history of our political parties a bit better because I am always surprised when I am reminded that my arch enemies, the republicans, are the ones that fought to abolish slavery. I need to look in to this.

I really wish I had gotten an earlier start, but it’s not like my carriage will turn in to a pumpkin if I don’t get it all done in 7 days. Maybe February 24th (the Oscars) is doable…

Vampire Brain

Here is what has been going through my head since I got back from Christmas with the fam and started my last 6 days of “vacation”:

“I have to finish all of that work I didn’t get to before Christmas…no, I have to rest and rebuild my energy for the crazy 2013 ahead…no, I can’t relax with all of this work hanging over my head…..I have to get back on OK Cupid and find love…is it really worth my time to come up with witty banter to write to men who don’t reply?….I really wanted to read The 4-Hour Work Week on my vacation to figure out how to “work smarter” …I can’t read The 4-Hour Work Week until I get some work done..I really wish I hadn’t downloaded Bubble Bust to my IPad at by brother’s house….I really want to see Lincoln, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, and the Hobbit, but I like to go to the movies in the morning when it is not crowded and that is when I do my best thinking…I should get up really early, do some work, then go to the movies…no, I should sleep in, this is vacation!…I should blog more..but there is not enough time I can’t get focused to write anything interesting….”

Welcome to my brain….

This brain banter reminds of the vampire book I am reading called The Twelve (second in a trilogy that started with The Passage.) The government experiments with a virus to try to create super-soldiers and ends up creating twelve vampires from the criminals they were testing on. These are not the sexy, fashion forward vampires from True Blood or The Vampire Diaries. These are creepy monsters that kill most of the humans on the planet. They also create new vampires. The vampires created by the original twelve become part of a “tribe” that has no knowledge of who they are and have one thought, the vision of the murder or rape committed by their maker, that plays over and over in their head.

It’s kind of weird that my brain banter reminds me of these mindless, creepy vampires, right? I can’t explain it, except that the brain banter is annoying. Luckily, not as annoying as having a rape or murder repeating over and over in your mind. One of the many things I have to be grateful for.

I have clearly found some time for reading. (It is vacation!) The Twelve is long and hard to follow, especially on a Kindle where you can’t easily flip back to remind yourself of who is who and where you are in time (it jumps back and forth in time). You also have to remember what happened in The Passage which I mostly don’t because I read it three years ago, but I think I finally have it figured out and it is getting really good. I recommend it.

I have also made time for running, yoga, and meditation to maintain some balance and calm. It helps.

The (seemingly) cute, cool OK Cupid guy who said he wanted to chat, never called. I am not surprised. I have sent a couple more emails that have not been responded to. Good times. I carry on. (I have not emailed my rejectors for feedback. I am fairly certain I will not get a reply and decided I might just come off as creepy. I think I will just play it cool, like its no big deal. Which it isn’t.)

I am caught up on e-mails, the bills are paid, my excess cash is invested, my retirement funds are re-allocated, I reached level 11 of Bubble Bust, I watched The Gray (because James Badge Dale is in it and you know I love him. Spoiler alert: he dies in the first 30 minutes. The movie is not worth it.) and I still have a nice long to do list. I did manage to get out a blog post and I think I can officially say that I am more productive than a creepy vampire!

James Badge Dale Sighting

The search term that brings the most people to my blog is James Badge Dale. This either means that a lot of people want to know what JBD is up to, or I am one of the only sites that talks about JBD. It has been a while since JBD has been mentioned on my blog because Rubicon was cancelled almost two years ago and I haven’t seen him since!

I too miss James Badge Dale so I recently IMDBed him to see what he has been up to. He has been in a few movies lately that I have not seen. The Conspirator, The Grey, and Shame. I decided to start with The Conspirator and do a little review to give the internet some more James Badge Dale material (and not at all as a shameless ploy to get more blog hits.)

The Conspirator is the true story of the trial of Mary Surratt who was accused of conspiring to kill Abraham Lincoln. It was directed by Robert Redford,stars James McAvoy and Robin Wright, and has many other well known actors in smaller parts (Kevin Kline, Evan Rachel Wood, Justin Long, Jonathan Groff…and James Badge Dale.) Sadly, JBD had maybe 20 lines in the film, and he looked kind of weird because it it a period piece and everyone looked kind of weird in 1865.

The movie was not bad. According to the reviews it was “smart”, “historically accurate”, and “true to the period.” It was well acted by the leads (some of the others I would give a so so to on acting. Not Kevin Kline of course.  He is always fabulous.) I learned a lot about this assassination event.  I had no idea that others were killed that night or that there was a group of men involved in a conspiracy, not just John Wilkes Booth. I also learned that these men (and woman) were not given a fair trial by their peers but a military trial that was completely biased against them. This was apparently the last time (or one of the last times) in our history this was allowed to happen. I really do have a hard time sympathizing with confederate south, but these people were pissed and angry people do bad things. And in 1865, they looked weird doing it.

All in all, I liked it. Not a memorable JBD sighting but an entertaining flick, I learned stuff, and I was reminded that I really do want to read a biography of Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps I will tackle that soon. I will also tackle The Grey and Shame and am happy to know that JBD has some new stuff coming up in 2013. Rest assured, JBD is still bringing home the bacon!