Mad Max: Unbreakable Furiosa


Do yourself a favor and go see Mad Max: Fury Road, a George Miller masterpiece that promises one of the greatest cinematic experiences in years. The story is set in a violent, post-apocalyptic world where muscle cars and hot rods aren’t only enduring and repurposed, but fetishized like religious objects.

Not only does the Mad Max world contain intricate world-building and thrilling, high-octane action, but Miller is also a master of the “show, don’t tell” approach to storytelling and filmmaking. He drops us into this world where even background characters have extensive backstories and tells us none of it. There’s no exposition, no lengthy voiceover recap or overview of the universe. All we’re given is what we see onscreen and the almost teasing roar of engines, challenging the audience to keep up if you can.

“Show, don’t tell” doesn’t mean showing everything and saying nothing, but knowing when different techniques and approaches are appropriate, what should be seen, what should be said and what should be implied. Sexual abuse is a big part of the story, but there isn’t a single explicit, gratuitous rape scene onscreen. Fury Road makes it a point to never exploit trauma. It is implied and recognized for what it is in that we may not see it, but what we do see is enough to suggest it happened and has a heavy hand in why the characters do what they do. The women go from being treated like livestock and objects to acting in a way that screams what has become one of the movie’s most popular quotes, words scrawled on a wall — we are not things. This is a story about the fight to overcome and the will to survive in a seemingly hopeless world, developing mutual respect and reclaiming one’s sense of agency.

See this movie! And if you need any more convincing, there’s this Mad Max: Fury Road & Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt mashup that is one of the best things to come out of YouTube in years. (Warning: the video features spoiler-ish imagery and women being capable and badass.)

Females are strong as hell, indeed.


The Breakfast Club: 30th Anniversary


Thirty years ago, John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club, the quintessential high school movie, opened in theaters. When I was eighteen, someone asked me what my favorite movie was and I readily said The Breakfast Club, duh. Fast forward five years and nothing makes me laugh and feel this particular brand of mortification quite like remembering that and repeating it now.

I’ve grown into the type of person who will be the first to tell you The Breakfast Club isn’t the alpha and omega of the genre, that it isn’t without its problems and that the hype around the movie is greater than anything within it. It is no longer my favorite movie. I’ve long since dashed the concept of having a favorite movie. (Seriously, that’s like asking me to name a favorite niece or nephew.) Although I can nitpick and sift the flaws out of The Breakfast Club, I can also recognize the little sparks of genius throughout this movie about teens in detention on a weekend, unconsciously seeking to define themselves, seeking a stable sense of identity and finding common ground, finding understanding in unexpected places.

Continue reading