In honor of Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq—
(Think Lysistrata, but modern and black—)
I thought, for my last post, I could do worse
Than to compose it in rhyming verse.
This was a year when function and form
Converged on screen in a perfect storm:
The Big Shorts, the Carols, the Chi-Raqs, the Creeds
Twist genre conventions to fit their own needs.
And so it seems both fun and right
To rage against the dying light
With language from another time
When sense was reinforced by rhyme.
Hail and farewell, then, to 2015
And the wonders and horrors it brought to the screen:
Bryce Dallas Howard fleeing dinos in pumps,
The Magic Mike strippers rehearsing their humps,
One-armed Furiosa commanding her rig,
And a tan Ryan Gosling, rocking that wig.
M. Fassbender played two sublime tragic heroes:
One a king, one the master of ones and of zeroes.
And Alicia Vikander, my new favorite Swede,
Went from cyborg to wife of a painter in need
Of support in transitioning from he-ness to she-ness
In an age when one’s sex was defined by one’s penis
(Or lack of it). Sean Baker’s tart Tangerine
Gave us two fierce transwomen who tore up the screen.
And Melissa McCarthy’s performance in Spy—
Along with Rose Byrne’s—set the feminist bar high.
Disney/Marvel continued to rule o’er the globe
With Avengers in tights, Kylo Ren in a robe.
I’ll admit that, as Ren tore his mask off in wrath,
I flashed back for a moment to Hannah Horvath.
But that blockbuster balanced emotion and craft:
When Ren met his dear father, nobody laughed.
Superb docs showed us why long-lost Amy was great
And how love can survive in regimes ruled by hate.
We listened to Marlon, Hitchcock met Truffaut.
Cartel Land went places where few cameras go.
I loved rambling with Rampling, in 45 Years,
Toward an ending too stunning to even bring tears.
Phoenix’s final scene, too, was one for the ages.
In that spirit, I’d better not go on for pages.
Juliet had it right about parting and sorrow—
But at least David made me watch World of Tomorrow,
A short sixteen-minute reminder of why
We see movies: to make us think, hope, laugh, and cry.
I wish you all this for 2016:
That the movies retain that particular sheen
Which once gave the screen the nickname “silversheet.”
May its light shimmer on till the next time we meet.