Kareem's Weekend Boost: Movies, TV, Music, Books, and Comics
What to Watch, Read, or Listen to This Weekend (March 25-27)
We’re coming to the end of Women’s History Month and I want to celebrate by making this an all-women’s Weekend Boost. The challenge I face is featuring only one extraordinary artist in each category. Fortunately, you can look back on my Weekend Boosts and find many other great writers, filmmakers, singers, and artists (who just happen to be women) who have inspired and entertained me.
One of the joys of writing this column is that I get to introduce people to gems they may never have heard of. Being of a certain age, I’ve had the opportunity to experience a lot more art than most and now have the delightful opportunity to share that experience with others.
Some of my selections will be contemporary, some will be works or artists from the past that I find especially memorable. I hope by sharing them here they will be added to your mind’s library of artistic wonders. And let’s celebrate the contributions of women every month!
Grace of My Heart
Written and directed by Allison Anders
I first became aware of writer/director Allison Anders with her magnificent 1992 film about working-class dreams, Gas Food Lodging. Her ability to capture the daily struggle between hopelessness and hopefulness for the single mother was deeply moving. I knew Anders was destined for greatness. And she fulfilled that greatness with the ambitious 1996 film, Grace of My Heart (executive produced by Martin Scorsese). The story faintly echoes Carol King’s life in the 1960s and 1970s as a songwriter for others who overcomes her insecurities about being a female in the male-dominated business, eventually releasing her own solo album. (Carole King released Tapestry in 1971 and went on to sell 25 million copies.)
Her journey through romance and business to find her own voice—and have the confidence to cherish that voice—is riveting. Illeana Douglas is so mesmerizing that after this movie, I wanted to see her in everything. The film is funny, touching, and uplifting. Sadly, her character’s struggles and obstacles are still prominent today.
The soundtrack features songs by Elvis Costello, Burt Bacharach, Joni Mitchell and others. Here’s one of the songs that embodies the character’s journey. Read the lyrics.
I couldn’t find the movie streaming for free, but you can rent it here. It is so worth it.
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Killing Eve (AMC)
I debated between featuring this show or Fleabag because they are both so original, irreverent, and insightful—and both had the enormously talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge as a writer. I don’t think I’ve seen a funnier, more cringe-inducing show than Fleabag, nor one that digs as deep into the characters. Watching Fleabag is like taking a reluctant bite from an exotic fruit and discovering its delicious and you crave more.
Killing Eve is in its fourth and final season and its still unapologetically focused on the women in this spy thriller that verges on satire. In the first season, middle-aged MI5 analyst Eve (Sandra Oh) becomes obsessed with finding sexy, young psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer)—all under the watchful eye of brilliant and ruthless strategist and aging spy veteran Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw).
While the assassinations and espionage shenanigans are great fun, the real heart of the story is the relationship each of the women has with the others as well as their own efforts to reinvent themselves as women and professionals at their different ages.