Tag Archives: entertainment
The Banshees of Inisherin – A Movie Review
(Beware: I present no blatant spoilers, but it’s impossible to discuss the plot and theme of the movie without hinting at certain developments.)
I fell in love with The Banshees Of Inisherin within the first thirty minutes of the film. The beautiful scenery, the clothing, the pacing, the seemingly simple story, the utter relatability–I instantly adored it.
Those first thirty minutes were simply brilliant. Colin Farrell plays Pádraic Súilleabháin, a plain man who enjoys spending time with his best friend, Colm Doherty, played by Brendan Gleeson. Their friendship is uncomplicated. They walk to the pub. They drink at the pub. They chat at the pub.
The year is 1923, and Inisherin is an island off the coast of Ireland. At the start of the film, Pádraic calls upon Colm to go to the pub. But Colm no longer wants to be friends. Pádraic, a man of practical thoughts, is bewildered by both the sudden development as well as the blatant rudeness. After all, Pádraic is a nice man, a good lad, and glad of it.
Colm eventually explains to Pádraic that he’s wasted away enough of his days. He needs to do something substantive. He’s tired of Pádraic’s boring conversation and lifestyle. Colm is devoting himself entirely to music from that moment forth.
At that point of the movie, I got it. I totally understood Colm’s point of view. However, Colm got downright nasty about it, and managed to hurt Pádraic’s feelings time after time. Pádraic’s sister, played magnificently by Kerry Condon, tries to smooth things over but ultimately tells Pádraic to simply let it go.
Eventually, Pádraic let’s Colm know how he feels, and that he’s okay with being nice, and polite. and maybe even boring. He takes pride in it. His parents were nice. His sister is nice. It’s okay to be nice. Oh, boy. At that point, Pádraic won me over. I too suffer from being perhaps overly nice and I could totally relate to his words.
Again, to that point, the simplicity of the story truly spoke to me. I understood both characters’ motivations. I could relate to both of them. I liked them both, though I must admit I liked Pádraic a little more.
And then the movie took quite a turn–a disturbing turn, honestly. It was still funny, to be sure, but Colm became unreasonably belligerent, Pádraic gave in to a darkness unknown, and things ended rather bleakly. I still liked the movie, most definitely, but it lost that charm I enjoyed during those first thirty minutes.
Which, I believe, was entirely the point. I’m sure this has already been thoroughly explored by others, but I can’t help wondering if Colm and Pádraic’s relationship mirrored that of Ireland itself. I think it cannot be an accident that the Irish Civil War raged on the mainland as their friendship fell apart. Colm became absurdly cruel as he sought only to serve his ideology and eventually drew Pádraic into a shared depravity–Pádraic, a man who previously concerned himself with only being nice, who wanted no trouble, and whose patience seemed unending. Shockingly violent acts seemed to be ignored by Inisherin residents at best and enjoyed by them at worst.
And what is this movie saying about kindness? Is it destined to be tainted? Will the world devour the nice if they don’t eventually join in the brutality? Must one be mean to survive?
As you can see, The Banshees Of Inisherin made quite an impression upon me. I highly recommend it, as you probably guessed.
By the way, I’d like to praise Barry Keoghan. I’ve seen this actor in a few things now and he impresses me with every outing. I think he is destined for great things. In this film, he plays Dominic, a fairly unintelligent fellow with few redeeming qualities. However, Keoghan somehow makes him very likable, especially because he’s always displaying a changing facial expression to let you know exactly what Keoghan is thinking, or, more accurately in many cases, not thinking. It’s marvelous, honestly.
Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy – A Book Review
Stella Maris is a companion piece to The Passenger, both by Cormac McCarthy. The latter took great pains to position Alicia Western as an enigmatic, brilliant, and potentially insane character who happened to be the sister of Robert Western, The Passenger’s protagonist. In The Passenger, the reader experienced short vignettes of Alicia, often while being visited by “The Kid,” a supposed figment of her imagination. As The Passenger occurred in the early 1980s, Alicia was said to already be dead.
Stella Maris takes place in 1972, and Alicia is still very much alive. She has checked herself into Stella Maris, a mental health facility. The book itself is written in script format while using a back and forth conversation between Alicia and her doctor. As you probably know, McCarthy does not use quotation marks or apostrophes, and so this particular style could become confusing at times. However, overall, it proved fairly clear in regard to who was speaking.
First of all, I found the premise of the book very interesting. Taking a secondary character from a novel, albeit one who drove the plot in many ways, and making her the main character in a script could not be described as a conventional decision. Furthermore, seeing her lucid and speaking to another human being instead of the mysterious “Kid” provided insight to her actual character. In The Passenger, we could never quite be sure we were getting the real Alicia. In Stella Maris, we can’t quite be sure anything in The Passenger was entirely accurate, either.
Which brings me to the second thing I enjoyed most about Stella Maris. This book acts almost as a counterbalance to The Passenger. Some things are confirmed, some things are elaborated upon, yet some things are flatly contradicted. I had theories that The Passenger may not be what it seemed, and Stella Maris did much to reinforce such beliefs. Should Stella Maris take precedence over The Passenger in acting as our true guide to the overall story? It could all be in the title, right?
Finally, Alicia is a mathematical genius, and McCarthy sold me on that trait. Writers tend to utilize characters who are either English majors or writers themselves, because, of course, write what you know. When a writer tries to deliver a “genius” character with other aptitudes, it can come off as shallow at best and unbelievable at worst. McCarthy made me believe Alicia not only understood mathematics in a way almost no one else could, but that she truly lived it as a routine part of her life. Of course, I don’t know much about math, so he could have made it all up, which might actually have been even more impressive, but McCarthy seemed well-versed on what he discussed via Alicia.
In the end, I don’t know exactly what to think about both The Passenger or Stella Maris, other than I applaud the books for doing just that–making me think. While the books weren’t hard to read, they were, by design, hard to understand, which meant the reader had to read actively throughout. It’s been days since I finished The Passenger and I’m still thinking about it. I finished Stella Maris this morning and I’m sure it will also occupy space in my head for weeks to come.
Listen To “George Winthrop Jr. Park”
When Ben and his friends notice an old man staring at their children in the splash park, he decides a confrontation is in order. But the old man has his reasons, and those reasons will resonate with you.
Listen to “George Winthrop Jr Park” at Podbean, Amazon Music, or by using the player below. If you prefer to read, check it out in my short story collection called Happy, Sad, Funny, Mad.
Why Should You Read My New Book?
“So you’ve got a new book out. Big deal, Foley. So does everyone and their dog. Why should I read it?”
Fair question. As an avid reader myself, I’m very particular about what amount of time I’ll allocate to what book. For those who don’t read fiction regularly, that time is even more precious.
The bottom line is this: I’ve loved super heroes, mythologies, and legends my entire life. I’ve admired epic series like The Dark Tower (King), The Lord Of the Rings (Tolkien), and especially The Chronicles Of Narnia (Lewis). Greek mythology, Roman mythology, King Arthur–these are things that have always fascinated me. As a result, I began fashioning my own heroes, legends, and comic books while still in elementary school. In fact, some of the characters in my latest book are versions of those early attempts.
The Chronicles of Purgatory Station is my love letter to everything mentioned above. This six-book series is also my take on the super hero genre. It’s my exploration into the moralities of heroes, the complexities of “evil,” and the very nature of the universe–time, space, and physics.
As I said, I created some of these characters when I was literally a child. In the beginning, they were clearly derivative of the popular icons of the era. However, as time marched on, my worldview grew more sophisticated, and so did my characters. In the beginning, they will seem quite conventional. As the series unfolds, though, they will change. Some for the better … some for the worse.
Why do good people do bad things? What makes someone truly “evil?” Is “good” and “evil” merely the construct of a society’s perspective, or does the universe itself recognize “right” versus “wrong?” These questions intrigue me–they always have and always will.
In fact, mythologies, legends, and super heroes have consistently been a community’s means of exploring complicated issues. It’s human nature to investigate an idea through thought, imagining, and story. The Chronicles Of Purgatory Station continues that tradition.
This all sounds pretty heady, doesn’t it? Trust me, The Chronicles Of Purgatory Station can be read simply as an action/adventure story as well. The concepts I’ve discussed certainly exist in the writing, but providing a good story is my perpetual goal. In my opinion, a story should be engaging, fast-paced, and universally applicable. I want every single one of my readers to be able to see themselves in some aspect of my stories and, as a result, make it a part of their own reality. I also want them to stay up too late at night reading my work because they can’t put it down; each page needs to urge the reader forward. If my reader doesn’t really care what happens next, then I’ve failed.
So … that’s why I think you should read my book.
You can get your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
You can also take a look at many of my characters here.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think.
Listen To “Cold Turkey: A Thanksgiving Misadventure”
Utterly unapologetic, Eddie stands fuming outside in the bitter cold while his son, wife, and in-laws sit silently at the dinner table, surrounding a cold turkey. How did such woeful events occur on Thanksgiving Day? Click the player below, Podbean, or Amazon Music to find out! Or, if you prefer to read, check it out in Happy, Sad, Funny, Mad.
Quietus: Some Other Beginning’s End
Listen to “Follow Me”
TJ’s big brother wakes him up with a simple order: “Follow me.” By the night’s conclusion, he’ll wish he had stayed in bed.
Listen to “Follow Me” at Podbean, Amazon Music, or by using the player below. If you prefer to read, check it out in my short story collection called Happy, Sad, Funny, Mad.
Listen To “Gunsmoke’s All-In”
If you like poker, and you like catchphrases, and you like severe discomfort, “Gunsmoke’s All-In” is for you. Listen at Podbean, Amazon Music, or by using the player below. Read “Gunsmoke’s All-In” along with many, many other short stories in Happy, Sad, Funny, Mad.