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February 22, 2024

  • Danez Smith at AWP
    Richard Saker/Contour by Getty Images As we end Black History Month, here is one of my favorite poets, Danez Smith, who writes on intersectionality between their Black and Queer identities. At the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Kansas City, MO, I had the opportunity to personally meet Smith, and they are […]
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    Lauren Slater crafts diligent, depictive metaphors in narrative, and I hate her writing, simultaneously. Should there be lying in memoir? In her book, Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir (2000), Slater crafts lies from epilepsy to nunneries to doctor visits and proposed peer reviewed theses to AA meetings. However, within these lies, she allows us to question […]
Spring Housing Guide

Netflix’s “The Discovery” a mind trip

The name “Rooney Mara” (star of “Carol” and “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”)could probably get me to watch just about any film; it’s the kind of click bait I don’t roll my eyes at.

This weekend her romantic science fiction film “The Discovery” debuted on Netflix. Jason Segel, Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough and Robert Redford also share the screen.

The premise of this film hooked me like a rainbow trout in Lake Michigan.

It features a reality where an afterlife has been proven to exist.

The titular discovery then creates an alarming spike in suicides, and Thomas (Redford) is unapologetic for this unfortunate side effect of his research.

Thomas’ son Will (Segel) wants to end the suicide epidemic by having Thomas refute his findings.

In the process of persuading Thomas to end his research, Will befriends Isla (Mara), a young woman with her own demons.

As Will attempts to sabotage a recording of the afterlife, he finds the footage and is immediately enamored with the idea of disproving the reality that was recorded.

The rest of the film spirals through Will’s journey to flesh out the meaning and reality of the afterlife.

With such a heavy topic and weak dialogue, the script does not give the story enough substance to make this film really leave a dent in my movie catalogue.

After watching, I felt I needed more from the characters and less from the story itself.

The concept is fascinating to me, but it also feels like something I could think about in my sleep or in an inebriated state of mind.

With such a bold claim on the meaning of life, the characters should have been given more depth. For example, Will’s brother Toby (Plemmons) is noticeably given minimal context or importance in the story.

His character is essentially useless to the final direction of the film. Lacey (Keough) is also used as a plot device and is partially developed, but Keough’s buff acting muscles did not get a workout.

What really stood out was the lack of chemistry between Mara and Segel.

It felt as if they were forced together like a bad blind date or an awkward Tinder match.

The scenes between Isla and Will are endearing at first, but they eventually feel forced and juvenile in their interactions.

In one scene they hold hands until they fall asleep and in the next Toby finds them under the covers. Both actors have their own strengths, but romance is not one of them this time.

Overall, this film did give me a nice mind trip for a nice sunny afternoon.

However, it also made me crave more substance. Metaphorically speaking, this was a deluxe burrito smothered in queso without the juicy steak.

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