Five things that are worth your time: December 20

Here’s some reading material for the holiday weekend! A couple of pieces here are a bit somber, but, important reads nonetheless. The others are more fun and lighthearted, including some cool comic book ads and a look back at the mess that was Game of Thrones Season 7.

Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too

Salma Hayek, The New York Times

Actress and producer Salma Hayek details her experiences working with Harvey Weinstein to bring her passion project, Frida, to life. Beyond the disgusting sexual advances, which Hayek was able to rebuff, she explains how Weinstein used his position and authority to devalue her as an artist and as a human being.

A quote: “Halfway through shooting, Harvey turned up on set and complained about Frida’s ‘unibrow.’ He insisted that I eliminate the limp and berated my performance. Then he asked everyone in the room to step out except for me. He told me that the only thing I had going for me was my sex appeal and that there was none of that in this movie. So he told me he was going to shut down the film because no one would want to see me in that role.”

What Happened to Game of Thrones in 2017?

Jason Concepcion, The Ringer

You might remember Jason Concepcion as one-half of the successful Binge Mode podcast, that—incredibly—reviewed and analyzed every episode of Game of Thrones to date. Jason looks back at Season 7 here, which, I can say with a little bit of time having passed, was incredibly disappointing. It had way more lows than highs, and far too many “dumb” moments where characters acted foolishly just to move the plot along. Jason outlines it much better than I can! (Binge Mode is back, by the way, with regular, non-Game of Thrones instalments! Check it out).

A quote: “One of George R.R. Martin’s underrated talents is his ability as a namer of things. Here are some of his battle names: “The Field of Fire,” “The Battle of the Redgrass Field,” “The Taking of Griffin’s Roost,” “The Battle of the Blackwater.” Contrast that with “Loot Train Attack,” the name of the engagement from Episode 4, “The Spoils of War,” which seems like a production title that stuck.”

The Greatest DC and Marvel Comic Book House Ads

Brian Cronin, Comic Book Resources

I grew up in the golden age of comic book house ads; back in the 80s, Marvel and DC would actually commission their artists to create new art solely for use in ads, a practice that’s long since been abandoned. As expected, when you have the likes of Alan Davis, Bill Sienkiewicz, Frank Miller and more creating new art, they produced some incredibly memorable ads. Davis’ Fall of the Mutants ad remains a high point.

A quote: “One of the very best house ads was a pair of ads by the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz that helped promote Power Man and Iron Fist. They were rare examples of house ads where one ad would help set up the other ad…”

Arthur C Clarke at 100: still the king of science fiction

Adam Roberts, The Guardian

This is a too-brief recollection of the life and works of Arthur C. Clarke, who would have turned 100 last week (he died in 2008). I share it only as a reminder to sci-fi fans, that his early work is an absolute must-read. His penchant for producing less-than stellar sequels in the last 25 years of his life should not at all take away from the brilliance of Childhood’s End, or Rendezvous with Rama. And of course, with 2001: A Space Odyssey he teamed up with Stanley Kubrick to produce one of the great works of science fiction film as well. (And, you can see 2001 in 70mm next week at the TIFF Bell Lightbox! I saw it there a couple years ago and it’s the absolute best way to see the film.)

A quote: “What all three works share is the ability to construe moments of astonishing transcendence out of the careful delineation of scientific or technological plausibility. The amazing final line of ‘Nine Billion Names’ (I won’t spoil it, if you don’t know it), the expertly paced uncovering of the mystery of the alien ‘overlords’ who place Earth under benign dictatorship in Childhood’s End and the wondrous uplift of 2001 – this is the genuine strong black coffee of science fiction.”

We spent months bracing and preparing for the death of our daughter. But guess what? We weren’t ready.

Royce Young, Medium

This article is from April, and I shared it on Facebook at the time, but it recently resurfaced in my Twitter feed (h/t to Bruce Arthur) and it’s so good I’m sharing it again. “Good,” actually, isn’t the right word; it’s devastating. Royce Young and his wife found out halfway through her pregnancy that their child wasn’t going to live; here, Royce takes you through the emotional journey and the choice they made to carry their daughter to term and donate her organs. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and thoughtful.

A quote: “On Sunday, April 16, the day Keri officially hit full-term at 37 weeks, suddenly, we were in the two-week window. In two weeks, we’d be prepping to welcome our baby girl into the world, and preparing to say goodbye to her. I planned on sitting down that day to write Eva a letter, like I did before Harrison was born, to give him on his 18th birthday. She’d never read it, but I was going to read it to her.”
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That’s all for this week! Come back next Wednesday for another five things.

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