So the Oscars Just Happened

Remember when I said I would review all the Oscar-nominated films for you? I forgot, I apologize. But that’s not to say I didn’t watch them, so I won’t do you the disservice of failing to complete my mission even though the Oscars have already happened. So today I present to you a piece I like to call: An Honest Review of the Oscars and One Film to Watch and One You Should Probably Avoid.

An Honest Review of the Oscars and One Film to Watch and One You Should Probably Avoid

Here’s what happened. Stop me if I start to sound like the Skimm, because if that happens I’ve officially turned into a biddy, instead of being the normal human lady that I am who pretends she doesn’t read the Skimm.

For the first time ever I was not a fan of the Oscars. I watched the entirety of the red carpet dress-analysis, about which Chris Rock made a pretty good funny in his too loud, too racy (pun completely intended)  monologue that you can go without watching. Not that I expect TV personalities to have perfect grammar, but at least have your facts straight and don’t: mistake film director/writer Nick Hornby for Saoirse Ronan’s dad, call the Oscar-nominated film The Room instead of just Room, ask questions without listening to the answers, and finally show every single black person who attended the event to pretend that there is indeed #diversity.

As usual, the damn thing dragged on till 12:30am, after hours and hours of hearing Mad Max win too many awards, when we finally got to see Leo look all smug and then pretend that he’s more excited about the environment and indigenous people than he is about the little gold trophy in his hand. And so now appropriately at this point in my rant I present you with:

The Movie You Should Probably Avoid

If you’re thinking, like I once did, that you have a duty to watch The Revenant because Leo won his first Oscar acting in it, you’re wrong. This is such a specific movie, created for such a specific viewer, so please do yourself the favor and don’t waste your time unless you find you are this viewer. This was one of the most horrific movies to watch. There is blood, gore, murder, rape, horrifically graphic scenes AND sounds, and it goes on for 3 hours. I think I watched the whole thing with my hands partially over my eyes.

Sure, Leo did a good job, but the whole movie is essentially watching him getting beaten up. First he gets mauled by a bear, then he gets abandoned, then he watches his son get killed in front of him—the list goes on and on. At one point he is so down on his luck that his horse dies, he slices it open, pulls out the guts and stomach, and then climbs inside to sleep to escape the cold. I feel like at this point, Aggie and I were just shouting JUST GIVE HIM THE DAMN OSCAR AND MAKE IT STOP at the screen. For the whole first chunk of the movie Leo can’t walk post the whole being-mauled-by-a-bear incident, so he drags himself along on his elbows while foaming at the mouth, which resembled all too closely Leo’s scene in Wolf of Wall Street, in which he also drags himself by his elbows and foams at the mouth, but because he has taken too many horse tranquilizers.

The only redeeming quality of this movie is the scenery and cinematography. It’s beautifully shot on a spectacular landscape and it really is a work of art when there’s no blood going on, but to me it wasn’t worth these few minutes of beauty. Skip it.

One Film to Watch

Room. I just watched it after witnessing Brie Larson win her first Oscar for her role as Joy, or “Ma” and falling in love with her. This story is heart-wrenching: it’s about a 17 year-old girl who is kidnapped and trapped in a garden shed, where she is kept for 7 years, during which she is continually raped, abused, and is finally impregnated by her captor. The film begins 5 years after her child is born and it’s the story of the world she has created for him in this little room and how they get out.

I know it doesn’t sound any more “fun” than The Revenant, but it is because Brie Larson is a goddess. It’s heart-wrenching and imaginative and emotional and complex in so many ways and I was so immersed in this story that even though it was tragic and also hard to watch, I became a part of it. I don’t want to say any more, because I don’t want to ruin the experience for you, but definitely worth the $5.99 I (Aggie) paid on iTunes.


The PVBs and Me: A Guide

It’s Tuesday morning, and I find myself staring directly in the ugly face of an emotional phenomenon that professionals of all creed and color are bound to face during the span of a career: the Post-Vacation Blues (PVBs).

Sitting under fluorescent office lights after a dreamlike Kenyan safari holiday with my dad, step mom, sister, and soon-to-be brother-in-law inspires a certain, very particular brand of self-pity. Ridiculous and entitled negative thoughts fight for room in my stream of consciousness. My real life sucks! Happiness is only real when shared, at a hotel pool, with gin and tonics in hand! Work is a prison, and I’m fit for a jailbreak!

As I try to drown out the external sounds of factory machinery and the internal sounds of my woes with my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist, I wonder to myself: is there a better way? Can the collective we defeat the PVBs? Is misery inevitable? Will I ever be happy again?

In keeping with the Vacationland theme, I’ve created a beginners’ Guide to Overcoming the Post-Vacation Slump using collated research from relevant clinical studies and statistically significant psychological data. See below.

Step 1: Snapback to Reality

It’s important to remember that vacations are special, and shouldn’t be all-the-time-real-life. If they were, we would all be eternally fat, sunburnt, tipsy and poor. In order to maintain optimal fitness, dermal health, liver function and finances, ease gently back into your normal routine. Make achievable, realistic to-do lists for both work and personal items. Sample:

  • Log sales data
  • Approach grotesque pile of laundry in corner of room
  • Answer emails
  • Limit gazing longingly at vacation pictures to >60 minutes per day
  • 2pm meeting
  • Eat normal meals at normal times
  • Revise project proposal
  • Watch latest Broad City episode
  • Buy ice cream for unscheduled emotional eating
  • Etc.

The sooner you dive into your every day schedule, the sooner you’ll re-realize that your life, in fact, does not totally blow.

Step 2: Don’t be an Asshole

The PVB experience is a very distinct and singular one. It’s hard to sympathize with a PVBer* when you yourself have not been on vacation recently. Your coworkers, who presumably did not join you on your ~unreal~ getaway, won’t recognize that you’re only being a total doucher because uhhh helloooooo, you just had the best week of your life and now your job makes you want to pierce your eyeballs with a salad fork. They will simply think you are a bad person.

Be kind to others. Their reciprocity may help you out of your selfish pit of anguish.

*One suffering from PVBs

Step 3: Plan Fun 

Put something on the calendar that you can look forward to. All rote office life and no weekend plans makes Anna a glum gal.

While you’re up to planning fun shit, go ahead and think about your next trip too. Even if your schedule/budget doesn’t allow it to happen for a while, start thinking about what kind of trip would make you happy, excited, enlightened or relaxed.

It’s crucial to remember that you are, and will continue to be, an interesting person that does interesting things, even if at the current juncture you are just another cog in the in Kenyan clean cookstove industrial complex.

Step 4: Gratuitous Gratitude

Above all else, take a moment or five to remember how #blessed you are. You went on a dream vacation! That’s great. You spent time with people that you love and that love you! Even better. You have a job to return to, and plans to look forward to! What’s better than that? Your life rocks hard, take stock of the good stuff.

Step 5: Write a Cathartic Blog Post About Your Feelings

Couldn’t hurt…

Happy days and happy travels!

With love,

Lil’ Anna in the big savannah