Good Luck
Redskins!

Sunday
April 18th, 2021

black widow spotlight pageScarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in a scene from the “Black Widow” film, slated to be a big movie draw for this summer season. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

The movie industry was forced to undergo many changes in 2020 due to the COVID-19, including movie release dates being pushed back and some projects being outright canceled. Those effects were also felt at the local level at Liberal’s Southgate Cinema 6. 

“We definitely felt the effects, the virus was still making its way around and the numbers were still going up and up at that time, so the crowds were definitely smaller, and something else that was affecting that was the movie studios pushing back the release dates for a lot of their product,” Mitchell Theaters Owner Brian Mitchell said. “We did still have people coming into the theaters though, there were a lot of people who were clamoring to get out of the house for a little while and see a movie because they were sick of being at home.”

With venues slowly starting to reopen, and movie release schedules starting to be more concrete, Mitchell said he is ready to see how the rest of the spring and summer movie season turns out. 

just as i am spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

When it comes to my reading material, I’ve lately especially been drawn to memoirs and autobiographies of people. It’s been interesting reading the ones I’ve gotten ahold of so far because not only can they be funny and insightful and full of wisdom, they also provide a unique and more intimate window into the subject’s mind. 

My most recent memoir-reading adventure had me grabbing award-winning actress Cicely Tyson’s memoir “Just As I Am.” Throughout the memoir, she recounts many parts of her life, including her parents’ rather toxic relationship, becoming pregnant at just 17 years old, her foray into modeling, behind-the-scenes stories of some of her more well-known stage and movie roles, and her tumultuous marriage to Miles Davis, which ultimately ended in divorce, among many other things. 

The first thing that struck me about the book is how honestly it’s written. At the book’s beginning, Tyson (who passed away earlier this year), recounts how she initially didn’t want to do a memoir because she didn’t feel like she had anything to say, but ultimately relented after some prodding from family and other colleagues. Then throughout the rest of the book, she shares her anecdotes frankly and without any pretense, including how she was treated at several of her auditions and how she struggled to make ends meet and raise her daughter, among many other stories. One story Tyson tells from before her marriage to Miles Davis that particularly struck me is how, in the throes of a drug and alcohol-fueled bender and covered in sick, he visited her apartment one day and begged her to take him back, and she ultimately sent him away in a cab back home because she didn’t want to see him in such a state. That really struck me how, even though she cared about him a lot, she found the strength to turn him away so he could get the help he needed on his own. So many relationships are sadly like that, and the frankness with which she told that story (as well as other stories of Davis’ violent temper and extramarital affairs) was very refreshing to read. 

the irregulars spotlight pageThe Baker Street Irregulars make their way to another mystery to solve in Netflix’s new series “The Irregulars.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Even though it’s spring, there has lately been a bit of an uptick in the release of more horror/suspense material to watch on some streaming services. In that spirit, this past weekend, I felt in the mood for some of that content, and near the top of my suggestions on Netflix was one of its newest series, “The Irregulars,” The series follows a group of teenagers in Victorian Era England who are recruited by Dr. John Watson of “Sherlock Holmes” fame to help solve some cases that lean more toward the supernatural, all culminating together into a final battle – think “Sherlock Holmes” meets “Stranger Things” and you’ll have a good idea of the show’s approach.

The first thing I have to praise about the show is the cast, particularly the leading teenage ensemble. The five of them have such great chemistry together and I actually felt like the five of them were legitimately good friends who had known each other for a long time. They all play off each other really well throughout the series and have their own distinct personalities, so it was good to see teenage characters actually written well for a change instead of having them be just sullen wooden blocks. The only minor complaint I have is they each fall into well-known tropes that have been seen in media many, many times before. Even with that, however, the actors are able to actually elevate their characters above those tropes in subtle but very good ways. Something else I would have liked to see would be more kind of quirky elements of their personalities (i.e. do any of them have a particularly favorite food or color or flower, etc) to help round them out a little more. We get to know these characters well throughout the show and we learn about them, but I think some more of those quirky elements would have been an asset if done the right way. 

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