pop culture

Movie Trailers

I’m falling very far short of my goal of watching 100 movies that are new to me in 2017, but these are some trailers for upcoming movies I’m super interested in.

It (2017)

Look, I get that this one isn’t for everyone. A killer clown stalking children? It combines so many fears for so many people. I think it looks absolutely terrifying, but it made me want to pick up the novel again–I haven’t read it in at least 15 years. I’m going to have a hell of a time finding anyone to watch this with me, but I’m determined to see it.

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

I loved this book as a kid, and I can’t wait to see this take on the book, featuring a stellar, diverse cast. I think it looks good, and early buzz isn’t bad, either.

Step (2017)

Upon watching (and crying) this trailer, I immediately emailed my mom and told her we needed to see this. It’s completely in our wheelhouse, and I can’t wait to watch this documentary about girls who dance in Baltimore. It looks so lovely and beautiful and heartbreaking.

What movies are you really looking forward to?

books and reading · pop culture

July 2017 Recap

This is how the month of July shaped up for me in terms of reading books and watching movies (okay, a lot of TV).

Books:

Total:  51
Picture Books: 33
Middle Grade: 1
YA: 5
Adult: 12
Fiction: 46
Non-Fiction: 5
Audiobooks: 2
Total Pages Read: 5568

Favorite Reads in July:

 

32195204The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter: I’ve already extolled the virtues of this one, but it’s still a stand-out read for the month. I think it would make a great movie, too.

This House, Once by Deborah Freeman: A great picture 30312840book with sparse text and gorgeous illustrations. There was something so beautiful and simple about this one. I just loved it.

Perennials by Mandy Berman: I think this was a 32148219really strong debut, and Berman will be an author to watch. There’s a lot of good stuff here, and the characters have stayed with me long after I finished the book.

 

 

 

Viewing

Total Movies: 4
New: 4
Re-Watch: 0

Favorite Movies in July: okja
Okja: My mom emailed me after watching this late once night and told me I had to watch it immediately; then she called me that night to talk about it some more. So, I watched it. And I loved it. It’s sad and beautiful and weird and sneaky and wonderful. It’s definitely worth your 2 hours.

Other Things I’ve Been Watching:

I’ve been slowly slogging my way through ER Season 2, and that’s been an experience. Everyone looks so young, and every episode feels so long!

Because I’m a masochist, I’ve been rewatching Dawson’s Creek, mostly as background noise while I do other things. It’s still terrible, and every character is total garbage except for Pacey, and yet somehow I can’t quit it.

 

 

 

pop culture · reviews

Movie Review: Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017)

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Dee Dee Blanchard and her chronically ill daughter Gypsy Rose moved to Springfield, MO after Hurricane Katrina, and it was there that Gypsy Rose became something of an internet celebrity. Charming, adorable, and certainly someone who had overcome a life full of pain and suffering, she was a perfect candidate for inspiration porn. Her ailments included leukemia, muscular dystrophy, and delayed brain development.  In June of 2015, Dee Dee was found murdered in their home and Gypsy Rose was gone. A short while later, Gypsy Rose posted on Facebook “That Bitch is Dead,” and then the most shocking reveal of all: Gypsy Rose wasn’t sick at all. A victim of Munchausen by Proxy syndrome, Gypsy Rose had suffered for over 20 years at the hands of her mother.

This smart, accessible documentary by Erin Lee Carr examines the life of Gypsy Rose, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for orchestrating the murder of her mother. The documentary answers questions almost as fast as viewers can formulate them in their brains: when did Gypsy Rose know that she wasn’t really sick? Why did this escape the notice of so many doctors for so many years? What about Gypsy Rose’s absent father? And on and on. The film doesn’t shy away from examining these questions, and because they provide so much insight from the family as well as medical professionals, the result is very successful.

Of course, the subject itself is compelling all on its own. Even though it’s clear that Gypsy Rose was the mastermind behind the murder, she didn’t actually carry it out. She left that to her online boyfriend, a man named Nick. Also, since Gypsy Rose had lived her whole life being told she was sick when she was not, how can she even distinguish between what is real and what is not? These questions don’t have such clear-cut answers, but the ride is worth it anyway.

Coming in at a slim 82 minutes, this film is worth watching for any true crime fan, whether they be an obsessive consumer of the macabre or a more casual viewer.  It’s gripping stuff, excellently done, and it stays with you long after the movie has finished. There’s also this excellent piece by Michelle Dean about the mother-daughter duo, and it helps shed even more insight into the whole bizarre event.

books and reading · pop culture

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.

pop culture

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?

books and reading · reviews

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?

pop culture

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.