I had every intention of updating this blog again in March—for who, I don’t know, but the intention certainly was there. But then, as maybe you’ve heard, the world went a little insane.
Everyone here is fine. I have at least one friend who’s had the coronavirus (or at least has had to assume she did, because testing? what’s testing?), but my family and I remain healthy, knock on wood. I hope you are too, hypothetical blog reader.
I started working from home on March 9, back when that still felt like maybe an over-abundance of caution, but only a week before it became the company default, and only two weeks before it became New York state law. (You may be surprised to learn that academic publishing is not considered essential services.)
I’m not 100% sure about that timeline—to be honest, two months into quarantine and social-distancing, I’m not 100% sure about the whole concept of time at all. But it sounds about right. I’ve definitely been working from home since the beginning of March, just about a week after I came back from London (and amazingly didn’t get the virus in the over-crowded fustercluck that is JFK customs).
It’s been a weird adjustment, but mostly because of the weird, nerve-wracking circumstances under which this has all happened. I was already working from home a couple of days a week, and day-to-day not a whole lot has actually changed. It’s just days as a whole concept that’s gotten a little hazy.
Anyway, there’s not much else to report. If nothing else, this whole pandemic has kind of eliminated “what’s new?” as a topic of conversation. So let’s just talk about the books, movies, and stuff I enjoyed in the last couple of months.
I’ve only read two books in March and April, and both of those were audio book memoirs read by their authors: Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Simon Pegg’s Nerd Do Well. The First Lady’s book was easily the better, more interesting of the two, but Pegg’s is amiable and has some good jokes. I’m was hoping to have read more books, four months into the year…but again, you might have heard: there have a been a few other things going on.
I read a few short stories in March, but I missed more days than I would have liked, and was terrible about keeping track of them. However, these are the ones I enjoyed most in April:
- See You on a Dark Night” by Ben Peek (Nightmare Magazine)
- “A Moonlit Savagery” by Millie Ho (Nightmare Magazine)
- “Of Marrow and Abomination” by Morgan Sylvia (PseudoPod)
- “Let Those Who Would” by Genevieve Valentine (Levar Burton Reads)
- “A Kiss With Teeth” by Max Gladstone (Levar Burton Reads)
I watched 63 movies in March and April. Rather than list each of them individually—I’m keeping a list here if you’re interested—maybe I’ll just list my top five favorites:
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE is an absolutely _stunning_ love story. pic.twitter.com/aa9rBBQmmN— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) April 5, 2020
I have @pattonoswalt’s recommendation on the Criterion Channel to thank for introducing me to the remarkable THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP. It’s astounding, especially for a movie made in 1943. pic.twitter.com/t4LZPwbm9q— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) March 15, 2020
I haven’t seen a lot of Powell and Pressburger movies, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one I didn’t love. A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH does not change that. It’s a lovely and gorgeous-looking romantic fantasy. pic.twitter.com/WUCi1HR8f6— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) March 29, 2020
I don’t know that anyone needs me, a white guy in 2020, telling them that 1992’s MALCOLM X is an important movie, or that Denzel Washington gives an outstanding performance in it. But it is, and he does. pic.twitter.com/pwulawwykR— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) March 29, 2020
NEVER SURRENDER: A GALAXY QUEST DOCUMENTARY is a surprisingly candid and informative look back at one of David Mamet’s favorite movies. pic.twitter.com/Ivhi3vWJeU— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) April 19, 2020
And maybe also the worst 5 movies I saw in March and April:
You think you’re ready for how bad 2019’s CATS is, but you’re not. It’s worse. pic.twitter.com/gt2gME5Njf— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) April 12, 2020
EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC has its defenders—including Martin Scorsese of all people—but they’re wrong. It’s bad. It asks one interesting question—the “does great goodness bring upon itself great evil?” that so resonated with Scorsese—but in such a confused and inept way. pic.twitter.com/8Q1vHJ52pn— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) April 5, 2020
Roger Ebert called COOL WORLD “a surprisingly incompetent film.” The animation will stretch your tolerance for Ralph Bakshi, but some of it isn’t at all bad. But it’s overly frenetic and so badly integrated into the live-action, with the lousiest of scripts. pic.twitter.com/ocf5DZ1Lvx— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) April 5, 2020
Is JASON TAKES MANHATTAN just a bad movie, or also a bad Friday the 13th movie? I’ve seen a whole lot of the former, but only a handful of the latter, so it’s hard to tell. It’s not a good movie either way. pic.twitter.com/xAbOGC68ld— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) April 19, 2020
1998’s GODZILLA is just a lousy movie. pic.twitter.com/TmvieppElA— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) March 23, 2020
And finally, here’s the music I listened to in March and April: