#TIFF16 Film 1: Birth Of A Nation

Last night was our kickoff to this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. After a hurried bite at Hawthorne we got ourselves in line for Birth Of A Nation (imdb | rotten tomatoes | tiff) at the Winter Garden theatre.

It won all the buzz at Sundance (and has gathered a fair amount of bad attention since, aimed at its director) and got a big ovation last night, but I admit I didn’t love it. It was deeply important subject matter, obviously incredibly relevant to American social issues of the day, and an interesting story. But there were some technical flaws, and the story dragged where it should have sped and sped where it should have lingered.

Certainly not a bad film, but I expect some of the strong reviews it’s getting have less to do with it being a great, skillfully-made movie than with the important message it carries. That may be enough to win it best picture at Oscar time; if that means thousands or millions more eyes and minds learn the story of Nat Turner, then the Academy may still have gotten it right, flawed or not.


Cover photo by Loaded Dog, used under Creative Commons

What a week-ish

It’s been a busy 8 days, considering I haven’t been traveling or anything. The mother in law visited for about a week. We had a huge dinner at Jacobs & Co. I spent Saturday, including a Fieramosca dinner, involved in a work conference. Good Jays games and bad Jays games. Absolutely insane amounts of work.

I spent tonight eating dinner at Hawthorne with Nellie, planning my attack on Cask Days tomorrow, and watching the Jays’ season end in game 6 against the Royals, in a game they probably could (should) have won. But hey, at least the Habs are 8-0 to start the season. So there’s that.


Cover photo by Loaded Dog, used under Creative Commons

Photo by pwbaker, used under Creative Commons license

Marble and mud

It seemed ridiculous that we’d never been to Hawthorne, since we could probably hit it with a well-aimed golf shot off the roof of our building. So, on Friday, with a few friends over and my appetite suddenly recovered from the flu, we went.

It was pretty dead in there, but the lone server kept the five (eventually six) of us us well-supplied. Poor guy. He put up with a lot from us, but since he gave us free coffees to end the meal I guess he found us more funny than annoying.

The meal, by the way:

  • Starters: smoked salmon cakes, roasted squash salad, quinoa salad
  • Mains: buttermilk fried chicken, beef brisket & tongue dip, smoked pork ribs, farmer’s sausage, ricotta gnocchi, pulled pork poutine
  • Wine: Kew Vineyards Marsanne Viognier, Kew Vineyards ‘Soldier’s Grant’ Cab Blend, Organized Crime ‘Pipe Down’ Cab blend

The whole thing was family-style, especially when friend #4 showed up at the end and ate what was left on everyone’s plate.

We made another stop back at our place before grabbing a few late-night beers at C’est What. I drank the C’est What Big Butt, which is almost as much fun to say (c’est?) as it is to drink.


Photo by pwbaker, used under Creative Commons license