I finally caught up with Parasite, the South Korean film that recently walked away with the Best Picture and Best Foreign Film Oscars. I don't usually think such awards are the best barometers of quality, but go figure. In this case, I actually think they got it right.
Parasite is a unique thing - a dark comedy, a social commentary, and a bit of a horror film, all mixed up and yet adept in the tonal shifts that somehow manage to simultaneously lull the audience into complacency while keeping it on the edge of their seats.
Directed by the estimable Bong Joon Ho, Parasite is the story of the Kim family, nearly destitute and living a life of desperation in a South Korean city. They are grifters of a sort, trying to figure out how to get themselves out of their dire circumstances. Slowly, through a series of jobs - obtained, to be sure, through subterfuge and manipulation - they manage to ingratiate and impose themselves into the lives of the carelessly affluent Park family.
I'm not going to tell you much more than that, except to say that Parasite manages to be consistently surprising - even when I was sure I knew where it was going, it would take an unexpected turn, which only manages to ramp up the tension and dread.
Parasite may be a South Korean film, shown with subtitles, but it is a universal story with some universal lessons …and none of them say much good about the human condition circa 2020.
I was thrilled yesterday to hear that the Dixie Chicks are back - they have a new album coming out on May 1, "Gaslighter," and the title song already has been dropped. It is their first new music in more than a dozen years.
One of the best things I ever did with my daughter was take her to a Dixie Chicks concert when she was a kid … it was an indelible bonding moment. (We talked about it last night, and were both a little shocked that she was maybe 11 or 12 when we went.) At around the same time, we also went to a Taylor Swift concert … I'm a big fan of her seeing empowered, strong women in performance. Plus, it meant I got to go with her.
She's an adult now. If I'm lucky, maybe she'll invite me to go with her when the Dixie Chicks go back on tour later this year.
Yes, I know that Spenser: Confidential is out on Netflix today. Yes, I will review it here on MNB … probably next Friday. Yes, I bring a lot of knowledge about the Robert B. Parker-Ace Atkins oeuvre to the film. And no, based on everything I've seen to this point, I am not optimistic.
But I'll try to keep an open mind.
We've been on a bit of an Italian wine kick this week; it seemed like the right thing to do, since Italy has been hit so hard by the COVID-19 outbreak/pandemic. (Just trying to do what we can to help…)
There are two that I am happy to recommend, each of which is wonderful with seafood or a light pasta dish - the 2017 Coppo La Rocca Gavi, which has a light citrus thing going for it, perfect with crab cakes, and the 2018 Donnachiara Greco di Tufo, which is a little riper and has a little more body, and is great with salmon.
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend - stay safe and healthy - and I'll see you Monday.