Capital in the Twenty-First Century: The Thomas Piketty inspired documentary helps to explain the COVID-19 economic crisis

Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a documentary inspired by the unlikely 2013 best seller of the same name by French economist Thomas Piketty. Capital was a dense volume of academic research clocking in at over 500 pages that became an overnight sensation as it meticulously investigated the causes of the inequality gap that has plagued nations. Piketty's elevator pitch is that there are two types of income sources: capital and labor and those that hold the capital assets ultimately win out in the end. Piketty demonstrated through extensive research that the historical returns on capital outpaced economic growth. It's the stark theme highlighted in countless books, articles and documentaries as we've grown familiar of the charts contrasting the stagnant wages of the working class and the exponential accumulation of wealth by the elite.

Inequality has only accelerated since 2013 and much has changed both geopolitically and in the global economy. Rising levels of ine…

Andrew Ahn's "Driveways" features the late Brian Dennehy

Hollywood legend Brian Dennehy passed away in April of this year. One of the all-time great character actors (as hilariously noted by Patton Oswalt), Dennehy is probably most remembered for playing John Wayne Gacy in To Catch a Killer and as the small-town cop harassing Rambo in First Blood along with roles in thrillers like the F/X films and Best Seller.

One of his final roles is playing a Korean War veteran and widower in Andrew Ahn's new film Driveways. Driveways is the follow-up to Ahn's first feature, Spa Night, a sultry slowburn centered around a closeted youth who takes a job at one of the spas in LA's Koreatown. I highly recommended tracking down the DVDfrom Strand - sadly there is no blu-ray.

Driveways is a coming of age tale centered around the relationship between a mother (Hong Chau) and her young son and their neighbor, played by Dennehy. Dennehy resembles my own maternal grandfather and the trailer for Driveways reminds me of the summer days I would spend wi…

2020 Oscar Predictions

In the words of Redman, "Tonight's da Night!"
After the backlash from Green Book capturing Best Picture at last year's awards, I am predicting a correction this year. 

Bold - prediction
* - My personal pick

Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari The Irishman Jojo Rabbit Joker Little Women Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood* Marriage Story Parasite 1917

Actress in a Supporting Role

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell Laura Dern, Marriage Story* Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit Florence Pugh, Little Women Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Actor in a Supporting Role

Tom Hanks,  A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Anthony Hopkins,  The Two Popes Al Pacino,  The Irishman Joe Pesci,  The Irishman Brad Pitt,  Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood*

Foreign Langauge

South Korea, Parasite* Spain, Pain and Glory France, Les Misérables North Macedonia,  Honeyland Poland, Corpus Christi

Documentary Feature

American Factory The Edge of Democracy Honeyland For Sama The Cave
Original Song
"I'm Standing With You," - Breakthro…

2010-2019: Best in Movies

Initially, I had compiled a list of 20 or so films that I considered the best of this past decade. But that seemed a little boring and besides, I still haven't seen everything that has come out this year (Uncut Gems) and there are a few films from this decade that I have missed. So rather than attempting to quantify a list of the best films from the last ten years, I'm offering up the best in certain cinematic categories, many of which I have invented.

Best Ass Kicking:
The Raid 

Before there was Keanu Reeves kicking ass as John Wick, there was Iko Uwais blasting through an drug den gauntlet in a close quarters combat bonanza.

Best Anxiety Attack:
Border crossing scene - Sicario

The tension is lit when Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benecio Del Toro are attempting to smuggle a cartel member back across the Mexico-US border and spot some hostiles with itchy finger triggers.

Best Social Thriller:
Gone Girl

Many argue that David Fincher's The Social Network is one of the finest f…

MUSIC 2010-2019: Decade in Review (Thoughts, Top 20 Albums, Fave 150 songs playlist)

My musical memories of the aughties were defined by undergrad, DJing (college radio, small gigs in Detroit area clubs) and as a writer/music editor at Real Detroit Weekly, an alternative weekly that eventually merged with the other Detroit paper, the Metro Times, in 2014. In this last decade of the 2010s or twenty-teens (what are we calling it, anyway?), I have admittedly become less prolific of a musical listener and writer as I was before. Last weekend, my cousin asked me what I was listening to lately and I replied that I was working on organizing a playlist of all of the music I've been listening to in the last decade, and then I launched Spotify to rattle off some records I had been digging.

In this past decade I began working in healthcare, moved to Chicago in 2017 and am completing grad school at The University of Chicago. All of which I can imagine have influenced my tastes in music and culture at large. In the last month during my daily walks to campus, with my ears cudd…