Staff Picks: Reese Witherspoon’s First Role, Lana Del Rey’s “Cherry,” Transgender Rights Organizations


Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Scroll through for our picks below.

First of all:

In the midst of some of the most callous bullshit Republicans have pulled in a while this week (and bullshit that could be extremely harmful to transgender people), Donald Trump has managed to make the political week even more nauseating by using discriminatory and dehumanizing language earlier today to announce, on fucking Twitter, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.” By the way, apparently much of this sudden, gross decision was made to protect funding for the potential border wall, to which the ACLU has responded:

And also by the way, as the Washington Post reports, “total military spending on erectile dysfunction medicines amounts to $84 million annually, according to an analysis by the Military Times — 10 times the cost of annual transition-related medical care for active duty transgender servicemembers.” If you have the means, now’s a particularly important time to be supporting LGBT rights organizations to help stop the perpetuation of discrimination against trans people, both in this case, and in the wider societal trends it represents. Meanwhile, the ACLU has stated, “There is no basis for turning trans people away from our military and the ACLU is examining all of our options on how to fight this.” (Donate here.) And you can donate to the Transgender Law Center — which “changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression” — here. Meanwhile, here’s the link to the donations page for the National Center for Transgender Equality, which “is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people.” And here are ways to get involved with/donate to LAMBDA Legal.

I’ll leave you on this long game goal that both acknowledges the insidiousness and harm of today’s tweeted announcement and also looks a step further:

Moze Halperin, Senior Editor


New documentary Morgana is the story of a 50-year-old housewife who reinvents herself as a feminist porn star not long after contemplating suicide. Directed and produced by an all-woman crew, Morgana is currently seeking crowdfunding on Kickstarter. “In a time where there is still a lack of 50+ female protagonists with a visible sexuality, Morgana offers a new perspective on the importance of sexual freedom for people of all ages,” shares the filmmaking team. The doc has the support of popular performers like Jiz Lee. — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor

The Man in the Moon on Blu-ray

This 1991 coming-of-age drama is one that’s been on my to-watch list basically since its release, so I’m glad Twilight Time’s recent-ish Blu-ray release gave me an excuse to finally get in front of it. The director is Robert Mulligan, best remembered for To Kill A Mockingbird, and it shares a decidedly Scout-like protagonist – played by then-newcomer Reese Witherspoon (complete with “Introducing” credit). She plays an outdoorsy, tomboy kid who has a romantic awakening courtesy of a new neighbor boy, and though it’s a period piece, the film’s portrayal of puppy love and heartbreak transcends any specific era. This is a movie that knows what it’s like to long for someone, with every fiber of your being, and how shattering it is when they don’t feel the same. The picture’s late turn to tragedy is manipulative, but effective; this is an old-fashioned movie, and that’s not intended as a slight. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

Lana Del Rey’s “Cherry”

Beyond its title track, Lust for Life‘s standout for me thus far has been “Cherry” — a song whose muddled food references somehow combine two of Simon and Garfunkel’s four favorite herbs, the titular stemmed juicy classic, and ruined peaches into a sensually doom-y masterpieces whose excellence is framed by a series of perfectly delivered “bitch”es. It’s not just the food that’s gone bad: her “black beaches,” her rose gardens, and her “celluloid scenes” have also been ruined. Lana Del Rey continues delivering pu pu platters of overripe Americana. But the fact that here, and on much of Lust, the album serves them as rotting (or pulverized, or what have you — she’s unclear about what exactly ruined the peaches) makes the dish pair quite well with, well, everything (see above). Plus, the punctuating “bitch”es are pretty miraculous. — Moze Halperin, Senior Editor