#Itinerary, #Thoughts

Los Angeles: AFIFEST & Mudbound

Do I say I hate flying a lot? If I don’t, let me say it again. I absolutely hate flying. Typically, a couple days before my flight, I start seeing things about planes crashing, emergency landings, and of course, the American trends of mass murder. My anxiety blows through the roof as soon as I check my bag.

As soon as I sat down in my seat, I took a pill to calm my plane crashing meltdown and that was the worst decision that I made. 1. I took the whole pill. 2. By the time the plane started taking off, I had calmed myself down. I was moments into a movie before my head flew down in front of me and I was out for the count.

The problems didn’t stop there because when I landed the option to vlog went down the crap shoot because my new GoPro’s battery died within a couple minutes. I think that’s God’s way of telling me travel vlogs are not my jam because something always happens to my cameras or the footage. On the way to my Airbnb, I fought the temptation to fall back asleep and when I finally got settled in all my plans dissolved into some disgusting Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and a nap.

Sidebar: That was the one thing I wanted to eat being that it was my fourth time in Los Angeles and I kept forgetting. It was the biggest disappointment and a waste of $30. Unseasoned. Undercooked. Overcooked. Pure trash.

I was so drowsy that I contemplated not even going to see my first film of AFI Fest but I didn’t want to pass on the one film I knew was getting major Oscar buzz. I had to say that I saw it before it hit Netflix.

Getting around a city and event you are not familiar with is hard and intimidating. I didn’t know where to go to stand in line for the film but somehow I made it.


I’d like to start this off by saying for every film that I saw at AFI Fest I did not thoroughly read a summary of the films or watch a trailer. I didn’t want any expectations going in. For Mudbound, all I saw or wanted to see was that it was opening AFI Fest and getting major Oscar buzz so I made it a point to watch it.

Mudbound is one of those movies I love to hate to watch because it invokes feelings that you do not want to feel. You know the ones you try to bury for fear of weakness and so you don’t panic due to the lack of control in your life. Depending on where you are in life, Mudbound will leave your feelings raw and scratchy.

The movie is about two families, white and black, struggling to complete dreams, settling for what it feels like the only chance at your dream, and trying to figure out what those dreams are and how to go about making them successful. This is a movie that every millennial that I know can relate to.

Yes, this movie is also about race and will make you feel just as, if not more, helpless and angry about life as a Black American but to talk about that minimizes what the movie is and that’s a push to see the harsh realities of a dream and the damage life experiences and a lack of sense of purpose can do to a person.

This movie is based off a book about the characters Laura, Jamie and Henry McAllen and Ronsel, Hap and Florence Jackson. The movie first introduces the Laura and Henry McAllen at their initial meeting. Laura is in her late 20s/early 30s and she’s narrating how she’s not a big catch. At the time, Henry is the boss of Laura’s brother. You will cringe at how much Laura’s mother is pushing her onto Henry and you equally cringe at how Laura undersells herself as she narrates her settling for Henry. He’s a nice guy that thinks she’s pretty. That’s enough for her because she no longer thinks she’s valuable.

Soon after, she meets Jamie, Henry’s brother. She’s completely enamored by his charm, his good looks, and his dancing capabilities but still, she feels that Henry is the safest bet. They marry. Have kids.

Enters Henry’s dream. After wining and dining Laura, Henry decides that he wants to be a farmer. Henry uproots him and his family based off a handshake of owning a house which lands them all into a one room muddy shack. The land that he bought cannot help but get rained out every other day meaning his farming dream was an unthought out sham.

Enters the Jackson family, who rents and works on Henry’s land. They dream to own their own land one day. Hap and Florence are the parents of Ronsel who is sent off to war and grows to learn how the world is outside of his bubble. The Jackson family is a shack of dreams. Everybody wants to grow up and be something that their bubble of a world denies them the right to be. Their dreams are nurtured by each other but denied by the outside world.

Throughout the movie, you see the lives of all the characters weave and intertwine with one another. They are dependent and destructive. Henry needs Hap. Hap’s dreams are deterred by Henry. Ronsel and Jamie come back from the war with PTSD and hopelessness and try to help each other heal. Laura borrows from Florence’s strength.

MudBound is a must see.

When the movie was over. I walked out the theater and was standing next to Jason Mitchell and didn’t even know it until I looked up from my phone to cross the street.

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