February 2017 Recap

This is how the month of February shook out for me. These are the things I watched and read:

Books:

Total:  39
Picture Books: 35
Middle Grade: 0
YA: 2
Adult: 2
Fiction: 37
Non-Fiction: 2
Audiobooks: 0
Total Pages Read: 2848

Favorite Reads in February:

23613983Run by Kody Keplinger: A lovely story about two best friends on a journey of self-discovery, this novel treated a slew of difficult topics with respect and care. Disabilities, GLBTQ issues, and socioeconomics are all explored in this novel, and Keplinger continues to grow as a writer. I really enjoyed this one.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems: A 490867lovely, funny, too-true story about a little girl and her stuffed rabbit. This one was a total hit at storytime, and I loved reading it on my own, too.

28818921Difficult Women by Roxane Gay: This short story collection, like virtually all short story collections, has some knock-out chapters and some forgettable ones, but on the whole it’s a captivating look at a bunch of deeply flawed, deeply human women. Not every story here works, and there are times when virtually all of the men in all of the stories are completely one-dimensional monsters, but on the whole it’s compelling stuff.

 

Movies:

Total: 5
New: 5
Re-Watch: 0

Favorite Movies in February: 
lion_ver5Lion: I ugly cried through most of this one, but on the whole I also loved it. Sunny Pawar is great as the young child in the first half of the film, and Dev Patel is great as the older version. There’s some gorgeous shots of scenery throughout the film, and the narrative is compelling enough that I placed a hold on the memoir that the film is based on.

My reading and watching of new movies was way down in February, which is disheartening. I can blame stress and life changes, but it’s also just laziness. I’m hoping that March is a better month for the consumption of new media, but since I’m also packing and planning a move for April 1, I’m not…optimistic.

Movie News and Randomness

These are the movie-news related things that got me all worked up this week.  Without further ado:

1. Cloverfield Lane Trailer

J.J. Abrams has described this as a “blood relative” of Cloverfield, and I’m not entirely sure what that means.  But it has a fairly impressive cast and looks pretty impressively dumb, so I’ll probably see it.  I like Mary Elizabeth Winstead a lot, and from what I can tell, the movie will be suspenseful at least for a while.  Which is sort of Abrams’ thing.

2. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is maybe going to be a movie?

Guillermo Del Toro has signed on to adapt the popular children’s book (series), and let me tell you this: I am 100% down for whatever results. (Deadline)

3. The Witch Trailer

Who doesn’t love a good story about a Puritan family convinced evil is afoot when their child goes missing?  It’s definitely in the horror genre, and I am definitely down to watch this and snark and be scared.

4. World War Z sequel not doing well

Shocking absolutely no one, there seems to be more trouble afoot on the World War Z sequel.  The film has lost its director and there’s not a replacement yet lined up.  What a total waste of time and money. (Deadline)

5. Tumbledown trailer

Remember when Rebecca Hall was going to be the next big thing?  It still hasn’t happened, but bless the movie execs for continuing to try.  Here she stars alongside Jason Sudeikis, as a widow who’s trying to avoid a writer who wants to write a book about her late husband.  I mean, they’re going to fall in love and it’s going to be totally obvious, but whatever.  I will probably watch these pretty white people fall in love.

Did you hear any movie news lately that caught your attention?

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

Bill Cosby and His Enablers (The Atlantic)

Ta-Nehisi Coates has written an amazing piece about Bill Cosby, Black Lives Matter, rape culture, and the enduring insidiousness of white supremacy:

But the narrative of cunning “bitches” arriving at the hotel room of a married man has a kind of resonance that drugging women on the set of a family-friendly television show does not. Similarly, the narrative of thuggish black boys in hoodies has a kind of resonance that child-murder does not. In fact, there is no real difference in claiming that a woman in a married man’s hotel room forgoes the right to her body, and asserting that a black boy wearing a hoodie forgoes the right to his. Brutality is brutality, and it always rests on a bed of lies.

He lays it out for readers in the most accessible, smart way possible:

Much like it is impossible to understand the killing of Tamir Rice as murder without some study of racism, it is impossible to imagine Bill Cosby as a rapist without understanding the larger framework. (For instance, it took until 1993 for all 50 states to criminalize marital rape.) Rape is systemic. And like all systems of brutality it does not exist merely at the pleasure of its most direct actors. It depends on a healthy host-body of people willing to look away.

If you read one thing on the internet this week, read this.

Do I Look Funny? (Racked)

A super fascinating, pretty upsetting look at how women comedians have dressed onstage versus how men have, this deep-dive is well worth your time and offers both some personal insight as well as a history lesson:

Men aren’t expected to dress a certain way onstage —€” or offstage, for that matter. They can wear a button-down or a T-shirt and jeans, as Jerry Seinfeld and Louis C.K. have done on both the stage and their eponymous TV shows. Women haven’t gotten off as easily. From the time women took the stage during the days of vaudeville in the early 20th century, their wardrobe choices have shaped their public personae.

In the article, Yuko interviews a number of people to talk about the modern implications for women in comedy, too:

On the perception front, what a performer wears onstage is also a cue for the audience, whether she wants it to be or not. “A costume designer considers how clothing can be a shorthand to the viewer to convey status, occupation, and self-image. I try to think of dressing for stand-up the same way,” explained Anna Lucero, a Chicago-based comedian who produces The Gogo Show. When selecting an outfit for a performance, she considers her comedic point of view, and whether it’s funnier to support or contrast that with her appearance.

The Razzie Nominations are (Mostly) 50 Shades of Grey (A.V. Club)

Kind of fun to read through the list of nominees.  Perhaps most upsetting is that I’ve seen a whopping 3 of the 5 worst movie nominees, which is…embarrassing.  My favorite part is the actors nominated for more than one movie in the same category.

Extra Hot Great: The Podcast for TV Addicts That’s Created its Own Community (The Guardian)

My favorite podcast got a feature in The Guardian, and it’s pretty great:

Making a podcast that is all about the minutia of television not only requires passion, but also a lot of TV watching. “Just for stuff that I cover, when everything is airing, I probably watch 20 hours a week,” said Bunting, that’s not including the auxiliary shows she watches when they are covered on the podcast, her true crime TV beat, nor the number of Beverly Hills 90210 episodes she watches for a spin-off website and podcast. “Tara probably watches twice as much as I do, ’cause she’s a supervillain, I guess?” said Bunting.

If you’re looking for a new podcast and like, smart, funny talk about TV, this is one I recommend.  There’s something here for everyone.

What got you reading and thinking this week?

Movie News and Randomness

It feels like a good week for some movie news that has me all aflutter.  Without further ado, here are 5 movie-related things I’m looking forward to right now:

1. A Monster Calls Teaser Trailer

I loved Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, so I’m very excited to see what the movie version brings.  The monster is voiced by Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones stars as the boy’s ailing mother.  I can’t wait!  It’s a long ways off yet.

2. Emma Stone to star in another Matthew Quick adaptation

The book being adapted is Love May Fail, which I know next to nothing about (when are we getting Sorta Like a Rockstar made into a movie, HMMMMMM?).  At any rate, I like her and I like Mike White, who wrote the script, so I’ll probably see it.  (Deadline)

3. The Boss Trailer

Melissa McCarthy stars in this comedy about a Martha Stewart type of mogul who is jailed and released into the care of her assistant, played by Kristen Bell.  Ben Falcone directs from a script he wrote with McCarthy.  I’m sure it will be dumb, but I love them all, so…

4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Trailer

The first teaser is out for the eagerly-awaited Potter-universe-adjacent film, which stars Eddie Redmayne (IDK about him, still) and looks like it’s going to be some fancy shit.  I don’t actually have a lot to say about this one, but I know I’ll see it because of its presence in the pop culture cannon.

5. The Bronze  (Red Band) Trailer

I haven’t heard much about this one, which seems to have garnered mixed reviews, but it looks like it might be funny and a total button-pusher, which I’m always down for.  I like gymnastics stuff in general so I’ll definitely check this one out once it’s on demand.  There are enough comedy cameos to make it worth it in that regard alone.

 

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

These are the things I’ve been reading and thinking about this week.  Without further ado:

Why Harvey Danger’s 90’s Alt-Rock Hit “Flagpole Sitta” Endures (A.V. Club)

I owned (and loved) Harvey Danger’s album featuring this song, and it’s still a song that resonates for me today.  Call it nostalgia or whatever, but it’s a catchy as hell song.  This piece over at the A.V. Club offers a really insightful, in-depth look at how the song still exists today, complete with interviews with the band:

This perseverance likely has something to do with the song’s unique timbres and unorthodox approach, Nelson theorizes. “I think it jumps off the radio. The fact that the distorted bass is a lead guitar element is really unusual. That shuffle beat is incredibly captivating and fun. It sounds noisy and chaotic and raucous, but then the melody is very catchy. And almost every line is sort of a memorable aphoristic slogan, which is by design, in a way. It’s also really snotty. There’s a snideness about it that is in keeping with the experience and the inner life of being a certain kind of teenager.

Aziz Ansari on Race, Acting, and Hollywood (NYT)

This op-ed, written by Aziz Ansari, is relatively short and wholly awesome.  Ansari tackles all kinds of things in it, and they’re all worth your time and consideration.  If you haven’t watched his new Netflix show Master of None yet, please do so.  It’s one of my very favorite things to come out of 2015.  This part stuck out to me:

Here’s a game to play: When you look at posters for movies or TV shows, see if it makes sense to switch the title to “What’s Gonna Happen to This White Guy?” (“Forrest Gump,” “The Martian,” “Black Mass”) or if there’s a woman in the poster, too, “Are These White People Gonna Have Sex With Each Other?” (“Casablanca,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “The Notebook”).

Jagged Little Pill: An Essay (Medium)

Jagged Little Pill wasn’t my first album, but it was my first favorite album.  It’s one I still love (I just belted out all the words to “Head Over Feet” while making oreo truffles in the kitchen a few weeks ago, much to J.’s chagrin) and I revisit it fairly often, for something that is 20 years old.  This essay by Morissette is super excellent:

There was a cultural wave swelling…a readiness, perhaps, for people to hear about the underbelly, the true experience of being a young, sensitive, and brave person in a patriarchal world. This wave was moving through culture with or without me, and I happened to grab my glittery surfboard and rode that wave like a feisty androgyne on the back of a megalodon.

What got you reading and thinking this week?

My Weekend in Pop Culture

These are the pop culture items I consumed this weekend.  Without further ado:

roomRoom: I read the book years ago and probably should revisit it, but I went to see Room this weekend and it was so, so good.  One of my favorite movies of the year, probably.  Smart, sad, powerful, this is a tear-jerker of a movie.  I ugly-cried through most of it.  Both Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are incredible (and I’d be surprised if they both don’t get some award nominations).  Definitely worth seeing.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt: Read for the Cybils this weekend, this was the book that most stood out over the past few days (there’s a lot of reading happening).  It’s a sad, sad book, but also beautifully and sparsely written.  I’m going to be thinking about this one for a while.

fantastic4Fantastic 4: J. and I watched the remake when I said I wanted something really stupid.  It delivered on the really stupid part, but it was so boring that it hardly matters. Like, I couldn’t even make fun of it because it was so boring.  No wonder it bombed at the box office.  What a total disappointment (and it was a low bar to clear to begin with).

Master of None: I started watching this new Aziz Ansari show and ammasternone completely in love with it.  It’s smart, fresh, funny, and totally authentic.  I keep yelling, “This is so natural! Everyone seems like real people!” when I’m watching it, and it’s true.  This is a gem of a show.  I can’t wait to watch more and at the same time I want to savor it because it’s so smart.

What pop culture did you consume this weekend?

October 2015 Recap

Reading:

Best Book of the Month:  Infandous by Elana K. Arnold

Books Read: 21
Adult: 0
MG: 0
YA: 21
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 21
Non-fiction/Memoir: 0
Graphic Novel: 0
# of Pages Read: 5343

Thoughts on October’s Reading: 

I read a lot of books but still feel like I could have read more.  I love reading for the Cybils, but work has gotten unexpectedly busy and life is getting in the way consistently.  I’m hoping to at least match the number of titles read for November, but we’ll see.

October was a bad month for watching stuff.  I watched a few movies and marathoned The Good Wife, but nothing to really report on here, which is embarrassing.

Goals for November:

  • At least 20 more books read for the Cybils.
  • At least 10 movies that are new to me.  I need to get out of the habit of re-watching shows/movies I’ve already seen.  It’s easy to do when you’re a distracted viewer and like to multi-task, but it’s wreaking havoc on my pop culture goals.