Sometimes, you just want to say a little about some interesting things . . .
Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot that Avenged the Armenian Genocide, by Eric Bogosian
On March 15, 1921, a man named Soghomon Tehlirian stepped up to a former high-ranking Turkish official, Talaat Pasha, and shot him dead. At his trial, Tehlirian told of how he had witnesses the murder of his family as part of the Armenian Genocide and had taken the chance to kill Pasha for his role in it (he’d been convicted of his complicity in absentia after World War I). Actor and writer Eric Bogosian thought that story would make a great movie and started writing a screenplay, only to find in his research that Tehlirian didn’t act alone, but was one part of a wide ranging conspiracy called Operation Nemesis to seek some measure of justice for those killed during the genocide. Bogosian wound up writing this book, which is plenty fascinating, but doesn’t quite live up to its goal of getting deep inside the conspiracy, focusing mostly on Tehlerian and his particular act. Fun fact – Bogosian was in Atom Egoyan’s brilliant Ararat, which is partly about making a movie about the Armenian Genocide – he plays the screenwriter.
The Bishop’s Wife
Every holiday season my wife TiVos just about every Christmas movie she can find and I’m always interested in something that’s older that I haven’t seen before. This one (from 1947) is one of the weirder holiday movies I’ve ever seen. Cary Grant plays an angel who comes to the aid of the titular bishop, mostly by wooing his wife (in some markets it was billed Cary and the Bishop’s Wife so as to not seem too religious). I’m not kidding. The bishop makes promises to do all sorts of thing with his wife, but has to cancel to go beg for money to build a pointless cathedral, so Cary steps in and does it all. I kind of like the theory floated by gpph at Rate Your Music that Cary might actually be a demon, more than an angel – that probably would have been a better movie! Still, this is a Christmas movie with precious little of “there’s only one proper way to celebrate Christmas and we’ll beat you over the head with it until you conform,” so that’s a major plus in my book.
Sea of Tranquility
I really really loved Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven (and her recent work to get her divorce cited on her Wikipedia page) and so was a little disappointed with Sea of Tranquility. It starts really well, laying out multiple timelines and a singular bit of weirdness that appears to link them all. When things lose steam, for me, is when we get deep into the time travel stuff at the book’s core, which I just don’t find that compelling (it’s wrapped around the “what if we’re living in a simulation, man?” speculation and at least comes to the correct answer – who cares!). That said, Mandel is just great on a scene level and there are really excellent bits here and there that make it worth the (relatively short) read.
This Hulu series (18 episodes over two seasons so far) has been on our radar for a while, but we only got around to actually digging into it recently. Thankfully, it’s as brilliant as the reviews made it out to be. It’s about four Native American teenagers on a reservation in Oklahoma dealing not only with the regular realities of life, but also the suicide of their best friend, which hangs over the series thus far. If that makes it sound depressing and serious it can certainly be serious (and touching – a scene in the second season finale made me choke up), but it’s hilariously funny in other parts, as well.