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Never Rarely Sometimes Always is currently streaming on HBO Go and HBO Max.

The following spoils major plot points of Never Rarely Sometimes Always, so please watch the film first before reading. That being said, this is a film that’s about the experience so that’s not necessarily required for this.

The American healthcare system is a labyrinth designed to suckle every last dollar out of the teat of desperately sick people in a country where disease and illness are treated like moral failings. …


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Eat Drink Man Woman is currently streaming on Tubi.

The following features spoilers for Eat Drink Man Woman. Please watch the film first and then read this immediately after!

All I remember from my childhood are tastes, and all I remember of my adulthood is not being able to replicate the tastes perfectly on my own. There’s two recipes I have from both of my grandmothers and the only accomplishment I can give to myself is that when I taste my own rendition, I am faintly reminded of the original. It’s never quite the same though. …


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Mother is available to stream on Hulu and Tubi.

TW: This film contains references to sexual assault and some violent content. Viewer discretion is advised, though I highly recommend you watch it since it never feels remotely exploitative.

A mother will do anything for her child, so the saying goes. A mother might even go the length of becoming an amateur sleuth to clear her child’s name after he’s accused of murder. Of course, this is a film by the great Bong Joon-ho, best known as the creator of the scathing satire Parasite, which swept the Oscars even as those who awarded it seemed to not understand that they were the butt of the joke. Director Bong, as his growing fanbase affectionately refers to him, never misses an opportunity to take familiar genre trappings and then distort the hell out of them till another truth is quietly revealed amidst his trademark mix of dark humor and social commentary. His films largely work because they want to explore deeply personal themes even as they’re willing to make a joke out of themselves at times. …


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I’m Thinking of Ending Things is available to stream on Netflix.

Charlie Kaufman has a preoccupation with the mind, and the lengths we go to with those minds in order to convince ourselves that we’re at a higher class of animal than all the other animals. The world’s most prolific holy book insists that man was created in the image of god, but if Charlie Kaufman has anything to say about it, a monotheistic god is just as much likely to look like a pig being eaten alive by maggots.

He’s possibly our most gleefully nihilistic filmmaker, with the vast majority of his works ending in his self-absorbed but deeply neurotic protagonists destroying their own lives as their minds steadily decline. Kaufman is probably best known as the screenwriter of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In that film, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet play a deeply insufferable couple that will remind us of ourselves, who both pay for a procedure to have their memories of each other erased, only to collapse fully into codependency by the end, unable to be alone with themselves longer than a few seconds. The film succeeds because Kaufman is able to capture the sweet spot between two deeply toxic people who are clearly bad for each other, kept aloft by their own surface level chemistry, but also understanding why these kinds of relationships happen so often. We can’t be alone with ourselves, we crave intimacy more than anything else in our short lives, and we’re willing to tolerate the wrong person because we’re terrified the right person doesn’t exist. …


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Her Smell is available to stream on HBO Go and HBO Max.

One of the scariest things, for me personally, is the idea that once you’ve done enough things wrong, whether you meant to or not, you will never come back from all those wrongs weighing down on you. You will never improve, you will never do better, you will continue to spiral, the deep pit you’ve dug yourself into will never be anything other than the rest of your life, and you might as well give up now. That’s an existential fear I’ve held for a long time whenever my mind settles to the places I’ve been and the deep dark pits I’ve had myself in. …


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PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE is streaming on Hulu.

The following contains mild spoilers for Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, but the film is all about the journey and not the destination.

One film released last year created such a stir that it actually instigated protests during an awards ceremony. Normally, a protest signifies disapproval or a need for mass change, but this was a protest deeply in support of this one particular film. It had been almost entirely snubbed from the Cesar Awards, which can be seen as the French equivalent to the Oscars. Not only had it been almost entirely snubbed, but the film that ultimately beat it in almost every category was An Officer and A Spy. This was the latest film from Polish director Roman Polanski, most infamously known for drugging and raping an underage girl in 1978, yet having gone on to have a celebrated career despite having to flee the U.S. as a result. …


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Image: Gerd Altmann

Want to specify ahead of time that this is not intended to be anything other than a writing exercise that was my way of dealing with my own mortality and fear of death, but I don’t posit any of this as what it’s actually like. I know as much about the afterlife as the yogurt I just ate. I originally wrote this in January 2020, so this was also not intended as a “life during quarantine” piece, especially considering how quickly things would change, so here’s the revised version for your reading pleasure:

“I think the worst part about existing as a sentient being is that they’re pre-occupied with the notion of what happens after death, they’re pre-occupied with here. Sometimes they almost detect you inside of them, namely us, and they’ll go to any lengths to find us within their psyches.” …


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This was for a submission to a writing contest, I don’t remember what it was called and I definitely wasn’t selected for it. I had thought of expanding upon it and making it a longer narrative, but I don’t know how to do that right now.

So I had done whatever I could to both make this fit the actual events (this is partly historical fiction and partly not, as you’ll see shortly) while leading into the little narrative that I actually wanted to follow.

The original name for this, when I was intending on it being something larger, and if it’s ever larger again, was Amelia and the Space Cowboys. Once you finish this, if you’re inclined to, you’ll guess why I thought of that first.


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There must be something so resilient in us, my love. Is that how you would define it? Resilience? The way I always defined it is being able to last past something that should have otherwise decimated us. God, I don’t even know anymore. Things did not change in an instant, and I think we always imagined the change to be instantaneous. One day, life goes on with all its usual stresses and inconveniences. The next second, all is gone, your whole family gone, your whole life gone and nothing in the aftermath. This is not to say such a calamity never happened again, my love, but this one, the most momentous of calamities, was such a slow one in comparison to those. …

About

Palmer Rubin

Atlanta-based writer and filmmaker. You can find so much more at https://palmerrubin.carrd.co/

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