Thursday, August 29, 2019

My August in Media

Horror movies and soft indies are my two moods.

The Invitation
"Something very dangerous is happening here and no one is talking about it." This had been in my Netflix queue for approximately 100 years, but I'm glad I finally watched it. Everyone in this movie just radiates negative energy and even though you can't be exactly sure what's going to happen, you know it isn't going to be good. Good pacing, good acting, good ending.

Into the Dark: New Year, New You
I don't know why I keep watching these, but I guess I'm just going to continue. This one walked a tightrope between good and bad. The story itself was fresh and interesting and the critique of Influencer Culture is deserved. But the camera kept doing these weird zooms and pans? If it was an intentional reference to the way reality TV is shot, bravo but...I doubt it. The acting was also a little choppy and the whole "we're going to put a scar on international supermodel Suki Waterhouse's face so you know she's Damaged" thing was gross.

What They Had
This was very good. It made me sad and scared about what happens to brains as they get older, optimistic about how long love can last and a little stressed because I am the oldest child in my family and know that all of the tough decisions about my parents are going to one day fall on me. Also, Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon make surprisingly perfect siblings.

Before Sunrise
As a long-time Linklater enthusiast and someone who once took a class called "Independent American Cinema," it's kind-of crazy I made it this long without watching the Before trilogy. Before Sunrise is good. In the vein of When Harry Met Sally..., it's a story about how romantic good conversation is and serves as a reminder that that's one thing humans have over other creatures. The chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is sparking and the film comes across almost like a documentary. They're just walking around talking, being young, dramatic and charming.

Before Sunset
Before Sunset is the perfect follow-up. I'm not 32 yet, but I can already feel the immense difference between myself now and at 23 and I can't imagine how much wider the gap will feel in five years. Jesse and Céline are the same people they were in Before Sunrise and also completely different, strangers to those kids in Vienna. Nine years is a long time. The thing I noticed most was, rather than just saying their thoughts like they did in Sunrise, they reference things they've read. "I'm grown-up, I read things, I know things," they seem to be saying to each other, "I know enough to feel less." (This film also feels like it goes by much faster than Sunrise, but they're almost the same length.)

Wanda Sykes: Not Normal
Sometimes, when I've had a rough day/week/etc, I'll turn to comedy specials (and also Drunk History, a perfect show). This one was light, even when talking about the State of the World (spoiler alert: it's not normal) and it made me LOL a lot.

My Own Private Idaho
"River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves play hustlers and River's character is in love with Keanu's" sounds perfect on paper. But this movie is really weird. All of the directing choices are odd, it's (vaguely?) based on Shakespeare – which means Keanu is doing Shakespeare and basically no one else is – and River's character is narcoleptic for...some reason. But. River Phoenix makes me sad all the time because he truly was a stunning talent and it's heartbreaking that we didn't get to see the great career he definitely would have had. The scene in the woods is a spiritual sequel to the one in Stand By Me (which gets me every time), and it's tragic.

Ginger Snaps
I feel like I'd been waiting to see this for 1,000 years. I'm a very vocal disciple of Jennifer's Body, and I'd seen this film repeatedly compared to that one. And listen: it's not as good as Jennifer's Body. But it's still good. The opening sequence is jarring at first, but overall, it's clever – the "monthly curse," y'all, I was dying – and entertaining. Hell is a teenage girl, etc. (Also, team practical effects, forever.)

Ready or Not*
Incredibly my thing. This film had one of the best uses of costuming I've seen in a while; great music choices; good, resourceful gore; and a great final line. It wasn't quite as funny as I expected it to be, but it struck a good balance. I've also spent a truly absurd amount of my life preoccupied with "The Most Dangerous Game," and this film is that but more fun.

Also this month: I finished reading Red, White & Royal Blue, and it was as heart-clutchingly nice as everyone has said. I also read Lauren Groff's Florida in just a couple of days and thoroughly enjoyed most of it. Finally, I started reading Bellweather Rhapsody, which I'm not very far into but am enjoying so far.

I also saw Carly Rae Jepsen again this month, technically by myself but in the same room as like, half the people I know. She was as cute and sparkly as ever, and it was a blissful couple of hours of dancing like a maniac and forgetting all worries. I also saw Bryan play in yet another band, Most Modern, while wearing way better makeup than me. Here are this summer's jams (plus Lover, duh).

My niece, Luna Rose, was also born this month (!!), which is absolutely bananas.

Overall, August was a tumultuous month and, if I'm being real, it's been a pretty difficult summer. I'm excited for September, which includes my birthday (27!) and a solo trip to Denver, where I've never been before. ACL is also, somehow, just around the corner again and I'll be working at it this year, which is crazy considering I went last year just days after having my interview for my current job.

Life is weird. Bring on spooky season.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

My July in Media

I didn't watch a lot of movies in July, but I liked all of the ones that I did! I also watched...so much TV.

First, the movies:

Thoroughbreds
The moral of this movie: Beware of Horse Girls. But for real, this is very good. A lot of times when I watch indie films (even ones I really wanted to see, like this one), they end up disappointing me because they're too slow or too weird or both. This is a movie that proves you don't need a lot of action to get menace across in a way that's satisfying. And it proves that we should be excited about Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy and sad about Anton Yelchin.

Monster
Ever so often, I see performances that are so good, I'm angry they weren't rewarded. Thankfully, Charlize Theron won Best Actress for Monster. As Aileen Wuornos, she knocks every scene out of the park. Sure, the makeup is impressive, but it's Theron herself that sells you Aileen. And on that note: Hollywood has a bad habit of glamorizing serial killers, but this film doesn't do that. Roger Ebert (the GOAT) wrote, "There are no excuses for what she [Ailene] does, but there are reasons, and the purpose of this movie is to make them visible." Bad things happen to people and sometimes people do bad things.

The Farewell*
This movie does a good job of balancing emotion. It's very funny, but will also make you cry and miss your grandma(s) and maybe have an existential crisis about whether you're a good grandchild. Also Awkwafina, a great comedy actor, kills it in this more dramatic role.

Vox Lux
I was prepared to dislike this movie – I wasn't prepared to like it. But I did. There were several moments in the first 20 or so minutes when I literally gasped, I spent the whole movie unsure of where it might take me and I feel like there's probably a lot that could be taken from it. And above all, it reminded me what I already knew: Natalie Portman is an Actor with a capital A.

The Crush
Ok, listen. Is this movie "good"? No, of course not. It's about Teenage Alicia Silverstone playing an even younger teenager who's trying to get dashing-in-glasses Cary Elwes to sleep with her and when he won't, trying to ruin his life. Is that premise tremendously entertaining? Yes, absolutely. I love a good obsession movie, especially if it's got that '90s VHS grit to it. Also, as I have said many times, Alicia Silverstone had perfect hair from 1993-1995, and this movie reminded me what a great Scream Queen she could've made.

In the TV realm, July was a good month for new seasons of shows I love. Stranger Things 3 was so good, and I found it especially interesting how much gorier it was than previous seasons. Also, I love Steve and Robin. Queer Eye season four had a few missteps but was ultimately still good. And the final season of OITNB tried to do a lot and made a couple of Questionable choices, but I've definitely seen worse last seasons. I also started watching Veronica Mars, which I love (I've just started season three) and The L Word, which is super soapy but interesting.

I finished Good Omens, which remained good through the end, and started Red, White & Royal Blue, which is very sweet and funny and surprisingly racy. Also read this Vanity Fair piece about why When Harry Met Sally... is the GOAT.

July was also a good month for music! I saw a new-to-me pop-punk band called Telethon in what was definitely one of my weirdest show-going experiences: at a warehouse off the highway that shared a parking lot with an adult video store. V punk rock. I also saw Alice Cooper and Halestorm on a Monday night in the suburbs, which would've been lit enough but then Joe Perry appeared. Definitely not how I expected to first experience seeing Joe play live, but certainly something I'll never forget.

Also, I'm seeing Carly Rae Jepsen on August 3, and I couldn't be more jazzed.

Finally, I listened to Muna's "Number One Fan" and Mika's "Ice Cream" approximately one million times this month on my walks to work as I tried to ignore the truly obscene amount of sweating I've been doing. Texas in July, y'all.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

My June in Media

I guess all I did in June was watch movies because I saw 18 for the first time, from allll over the map.

If you know me, please invite me to things – obviously, I need to leave my house more.

Always Be My Maybe
I was so excited to watch this movie, and it was cute! Sweet, sweet fluff, following the recent trend of rom-coms that are basically fanfic AUs (#romcomissance). Also wow, Keanu is truly perfect in this and also everything, including real life.

Destination Wedding
This movie wasn't as good as a movie starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder should be. But it wasn't bad, necessarily. Keanu and Winona are the only two people who speak for the whole film, which I think would be a much better set-up for a play. They also play truly insufferable characters, which stands as a testament to how good they both are because I still wanted to like them. Also, this movie has maybe the most horrible sex scene I've seen in a movie that wasn't intentionally super weird.

Hereditary
I heard nothing but good things about this movie, but...I didn't like it. It's really weird, and I just wasn't super into it. It seemed to me to be one of those films that goes for the "disturbing images" angle, but doesn't necessarily back it up with "good writing." That being said: Toni Collette is good (please watch United States of Tara, y'all – this film is just scratching the surface of what she's capable of) and Alex Wolff is, surprisingly, even better.

What If
Cute, basic rom-com! It was very nice to see my boy DanRad in something sweet and fluffy instead of intensely weird, and he and Zoe Kazan have good chemistry. Adam Driver and Mackenzie Davis (both consistently impressive) are also great in their supporting roles.

Landline
I'd wanted to see this one for a while, and I really liked it. A rare film where every scene is satisfying. Jenny Slate should be in more things.

The Florida Project
Wow wow wow. This movie is incredible. It filled me with an immense, unshakable sense of dread while also making me laugh a few times. I have known so many Moonees and Halleys, and Brooklynn Prince should have absolutely been nominated for an Oscar. Also, it's hard to describe, but I felt like I could feel so many of the sensations in this film. The humidity after the rain, the stickiness of the jelly, that panicky feeling in your chest when you cry really hard. It's truly something.

A Star is Born
"It's the same story told over and over, forever," Sam Elliott tells Lady Gaga. He's right – this story has (literally) been told time and time again. So, it wasn't exactly ~dazzling~ for me to watch a 2.5-hour Behind the Music episode. But! Lady Gaga is so talented and beautiful and her voice is glorious. And, having not seen any of the other three (3) iterations of this story, it was nice to see a female character call her loser partner out on his loserness.

Bad Times at the El Royale
I was excited to watch this one because I love The Cabin in the Woods. I wanted there to be more twists, but the aesthetics were great. It was also super fun to see Hemsworth the Hero play a villain, and he did a good job with it. We should also have Jon Hamm in more things.

Some Kind of Wonderful
If I had seen this when I was in high school, I'm sure I would've liked it almost as much as the other John Hughes movies, even if it is just a genderswapped Pretty in Pink. I would probably still be looking for gloves like the ones Watts wears or boots like the ones Amanda wears. But watching it as an adult, it just seemed like none of the characters actually liked each other? No one had any chemistry! I didn't believe any of the crushes! Watts' hair is super cool though.

School Ties
I'm pretty into the "prep school is bad" genre (I read all the Gossip Girl books in high school and remain #shook about A Separate Peace). This was a good entry with a great final line, even though it was unfortunate that the Jewish main character was played by an actor who is...not Jewish. Also: I don't know why we ever made Matt Damon an action star when he was so good at playing smirky, smarmy kids of various socioeconomic backgrounds (maybe he's a great action star, I don't know, I have seen zero Borne movies). And as an aside, my childhood crush on Chris O'Donnell still holds up. Good job, Baby Bee.

Nancy
A lot of movie trailers are bad, but it's pretty rare to come across one that's wholly misleading. If you watch the trailer for Nancy, it looks like a psychological thriller about a woman who decides to cruelly trick two mourning parents either because she feels nothing or because she's just awful. But that's not what this movie is. It is about a woman who tricks two sad people, but it's not a thriller. It's a gloomy film about loneliness. I didn't like it, but I wonder how much of that is because of my own expectations.

The Game
I didn't really set out to watch almost all of David Fincher's filmography, but I've just about done it. With The Game, I'm now up to seven out of 10 – so at this point, I've got to finish, right? Anyway, this movie was wild. It was engaging the whole time because I didn't have any idea how it was going to end and, blessedly, the ending was good. I also fully believe rich people are really weird enough to participate in something like this.

The Last Word
I really liked this one. It could've been a too-sugary story about "living before you die," but it ends up a just-sweet-enough story about unlikely friendships. Amanda Seyfried has been doing great work, quietly, her whole career (hello, she is in Mamma Mia! and Jennifer's Body). And Shirley MacLaine is...Shirley MacLaine.

The Dead Don't Die*
This was fine, I guess? Parts of it were funny and the zombies themselves were good (good gore, good zombie moves). But other parts were too heavy-handed, and the film overall left me with the feeling of, "Ok, but like, what was the point of that?"

Us
I still...can't believe this movie is the way that it is. It had so much potential! But overall, it just isn't very good. It's a testament to the success of Get Out, the talent of Lupita Nyong'o and the terrifying nature of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk (seriously, I've been there and dark energy abounds) that I was very anxious for the first half, but there was no payoff.

Hide and Seek
I remember being very freaked out by the trailers for this movie back when it came out in 2005 and that was when I wasn't even super into thrillers and horror, so I was excited to finally watch it. It ended up being pretty good! It had a big twist that I didn't see coming, but which also didn't feel like it came out of nowhere – something that's increasingly hard to come by.

Christopher Robin
I'm a sucker for Winnie the Pooh and that has never been more obvious to me than when I was already tearing up during this movie barely five minutes in. It's a delight, very sweet in ways that will make you laugh and cry (and laugh while you're crying and cry while you're laughing). How can you resist a bear of very big heart? Fun fact: I collected Eeyores in high school, and I have...so many.

Ralph Breaks the Internet
If you'll recall, I was basically a one-woman hype team for Wreck-It Ralph when it came out, so I was very excited about this sequel. It was a very nice follow-up, a little convoluted at the end, but mostly clever and bright.

After watching all six episodes of Good Omens in a weekend (so good), I started reading the book, which is delightful so far (I'm a little over halfway through). Next up on the reading list is Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, which Maggie felt so strongly I needed to read, she got me my own signed copy. What a gem.

Another good thing I read this month: this article ranking Mary-Kate and Ashley movies by their level of surreality.

Aside from Good Omens, I also spent the month casually making my way through Netflix's Easy (good, for the most part) and Tales of the City (sweet, but soapy). I also finally started The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which is like a musical without musical numbers), and watched a lot of Degrassi Junior High because I will always be who I was when I was 14.

It really wasn't all watching and reading things this month though! I also made it out of my apartment to go see synth-pop queens Aly & AJ at the Mohawk. It was pouring rain through the whole opening act and there was crazy lightning all through their set, so I was low-key afraid for my life (as were they: they didn't play their instruments for fear of being electrocuted). But it was so fun! You haven't lived until you've jammed to a live version of "Potential Breakup Song."

Thursday, May 30, 2019

My May in Media

This month's round-up of movies was all over the place! Lots of horror movies, but also a documentary, a rom-com, a couple of "chick flicks" and more.

Fourteen total. Not bad.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
This was basically, "White Male Privilege: The Movie." Despite a nagging sense that we should probably stop making movies about these terrible men, I wanted this movie to be good and it was interesting, if not necessarily great. I appreciated that it took an alternative route to telling the story, by focusing on Lily Collins' character. It's also still hysterical to me that James Hetfield of Metallica has a five-second role.

BlacKkKlansman
Very good. Definitely one you should see for yourself.

Hired Gun
An interesting look at the guys no one ever thinks about. It's strange to realize how often songs you love – songs that millions of people know – are made by people whose name you don't know. It also had never really occurred to me that Jason Newstead was a "hired gun" for Metallica before he was legitimately part of the band.

Wine Country
This movie is exactly what its trailer made it seem like it would be – and that's a good thing. Who amongst us doesn't love this particular group of SNL alumna? I literally LOL'd a couple of times, almost always because of Maya Rudolph. We have done nothing to deserve her. (The "I'm your Appollonia" "I'm your Vanity" exchange had me dying.)

Into the Dark: The Body
I decided to give Hulu's Into the Dark series a shot because 1) I like anthology media and 2) I like horror movies. But this was...so bad? I've promised myself to stop watching things I'm not enjoying, but this movie was the particular brand of toxically bad movie where you keep watching to see if it gets better, or to see if all the badness is a ploy and it's actually been good the whole time (this only happens if the movie is funny). It did not get better. It wasn't secretly good or funny. It was just bad.

Into the Dark: Flesh & Blood
Conversely, this Into the Dark entry was much better! It was a little uneven and a little too long, but overall, it was way better than The Body. It was a little reminiscent of Disturbia and a lot reminiscent of What Lies Beneath (but not as good as either of those). One highlight: Dermot Mulroney does a lot with a little, even if he sometimes comes across hammy.

The First Purge
I like the Purge series. The films aren't perfect and sometimes they're a little too on-the-nose (there's a sexual assault scene in this one – yikes – that features a politically-tinged line that made me straight-up cringe). But overall, I think they're smart and original, and I've had fun seeing how they refresh the story a little with each entry. I liked this one no more or less than I liked the previous three.

Final Destination 2 and 3
In February, I watched the first Final Destination film on a whim and ended up really liking it. It made me want to watch the rest, even though they seemed to be very similar on paper. Having now watched the second and third, I can confirm: this series follows a formula, almost to the minute – but it's not a bad thing. These movies are so fun! That might seem like a weird thing to say about a film series about Death Itself stalking teens until they die gruesome, over-the-top deaths. But the deaths are what make it fun. The films follow a formula, yes, but the fact that each death is so wild and graphic makes it so that they're almost impossible to predict. A note: FD3 is definitely stronger than FD2. I especially loved the use of "Love Rollercoaster" in the tanning bed scene.

The Jane Austen Book Club
I really liked this one! In particular, I loved that every character was a Hot Mess (like, literally the opening montage of the film is people spilling coffee on themselves, getting their cards eaten by ATMs, etc – everyday human disasters). I liked that I could enjoy it even though I haven't read any Jane Austen. And I liked Hugh Dancy's character so much – a sci-fi nerd with three older sisters whose just super jazzed to get to be part of this Austen book club? Be still my heart. Bonus: As I tweeted, I happened to watch this the day after the GOT finale aired and it was refreshing to be reminded that all media can be interpreted in dozens of ways.

Mr. Mom
Funny and surprisingly progressive for 1983! In terms of gender roles (obviously), workplace harassment and the importance of work-life balance and equitable responsibility in a marriage. I also just always love Michael Keaton's chaotic good energy, and I enjoyed Jack and Caroline's "if Sam and Diane got married" banter.

The Perfection
I'll say this for this movie: I had no idea what was going to happen the entire time and therefore stayed interested. But God, at what cost? It's a mess. It's one of those truly messed up movies that sticks with you? For days after? (I could list several others like this, but I'll spare you.) It's weird and gross – in more ways than one – and I had to watch a John Mulaney stand-up when it was over to make myself feel better.

Halloween (2018)
“He waited for this night. He waited for me. I waited for him.” This film is in many ways a love letter to the series and especially the original (the greatest slasher movie of all time). But it's also fresh and the Final Girl Energy was off the charts. Plus, Halloween movies are scary in a way very few others are – they feed on negative space and anxiety. I'll be scared of Michael Myers forever, and I'm in good company.

Booksmart*
This movie was just as good as everyone is saying. Just go see it. It's so much fun. (@ Hollywood, please put Billie Lourd in everything.)

This month, I finished reading The Shining after reading it little by little for three months (I didn't want to read it at night, okay?). It was wonderful, so much better than I anticipated based on my long-standing dissatisfaction with Stanley Kubrick's "adaptation" (woof). I also rewatched Kubrick's film shortly after finishing the book and, not only is it a terrible adaptation, it just...isn't good. Sorry, film bros.

I also finished Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere this month. Ng is a great writer, but I wasn't super into this one. Definitely not as engaging as her other novel, the gut-wrenching Everything I Never Told You.

Other good things I read:
  • Y'all know I love Rob Sheffield and I really love when he writes about Taylor Swift. This piece on how "ME!" follows Taylor Swift Lead Single canon is perfect.
  • Also in the category of "Rolling Stone articles about pop queens," this piece on Carly Rae Jepsen and her "infatuation with infatuation" is wonderful. Long live Queen CRJ.
Here are the songs I've been listening to this spring! Well, those plus The Dirty Nil's 'Master Volume' like, almost every day, still. (I saw them live again this month and they really are one of the best bands out there right now – plus their lead singer/guitarist is a damn dreamboat, so bonus.)

Time for summer shenanigans, y'all! Stay hydrated. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Let's keep the night from leaving

I had an extra day off this week because I have one less day off next week, so here's a little rundown of what I've been up to:

* I've already seen 11 movies this month, and I've also finished two books. More on all that to come in the regularly scheduled "My [Blank] in Media" post.

Have you watched 'Dead To Me' yet? You should definitely watch 'Dead To Me.' I finished it all in one weekend, and it's so good. Also, if it inspires you to watch more things that the cast has been in, I recommend the Christina Applegate-led '90s cult classic 'Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead,' which greatly impacted my fashion sense and is currently on HBO.

I've been casually rereading Rob Sheffield's 'Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke' which, like all things Sheffield, remains great. Sample: "['Livin' on a Prayer' and 'Don't Stop Believin'] express the karaoke worldview at its most extreme. The idea of a lost and lonely solitary voice, fading into a massive communal chorus, lifted up by all these other streetlight people. We're all just strangers wandering through the night, with nothing except this song to bring us together. But we've got each other, and that's a lot."

I just kept adding my recent Spotify monthly playlists together, so I decided to go ahead and turn March/April/May into "Spring 2019." I might make it a regular thing because I kind-of like the idea of examining my listening habits by season. Standouts: I've been regularly listening to CRJ's 'Dedicated' (but mostly "Too Much"), Aly & AJ's 'Sanctuary' (but mostly "Not Ready to Wake Up") and a lot of DNCE and Jonas Brothers.

I've gotten into doing this thing where I share my favorite Instagram posts of (approximately) the week on my stories, and I don't know if anyone else likes looking at them, but I like doing it so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This weekend, I went to the Austin Record Convention – allegedly the largest record sale in the country (it was, in fact, massive) – and purchased the 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' soundtrack, Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Gold & Platinum' and Aerosmith's 'Live! Bootleg' on vinyl + a handful of band pins because I'll always be who I was when I was 14.

Things I should be saving for: a new computer, unfortunately, as mine is still working but now says it has "no battery available" (LOL) and trying to replace a battery in an eight-year-old computer sounds like a losing battle. Also a new skillet because mine is in rough shape. Things I want to be saving for instead: some sort of kitschy paper towel holder; a new dresser (mine has been through A Lot), preferably vintage, maybe mirrored?; and clothes that will not make me feel like I am slowly melting into the sidewalk.

Cool things I've got coming up: seeing The Dirty Nil on Tuesday at The Parish; Maggie, Melany and Dylan's "housecooling party" in June; and Aly & AJ at The Mohawk the next night.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

My April in Media

Only clocked six films in April, but watched a truly stunning amount of television. There are only so many hours in the day.

Field of Dreams
Here's an obvious fact: I don't watch sports. I do understand the passion for them, to an extent (I went to a high school where Ball Was Life and definitely sipped the Kool-Aid despite being desperately uncoordinated). But they're just not my thing. Ironically, something that is my thing? Baseball movies. I love baseball movies! All of them! There's something about films like The Sandlot, Bull Durham, A League of Their Own that feels so summery to me. I want to change into some cutoffs, brew some sun tea and have a hot dog. Until this month though, I had never seen one of the Baseball Movie Classics, Field of Dreams. It's a very American movie, about dreams, change, fathers and sons – and yeah, baseball. I liked it a lot, and not just because there's something about Kevin Costner. It had good characters, a good story and James Earl Jones. What more does a movie need?

Unicorn Store
I liked this film so, so much. It's unique, inspiring and a little unexplainable. I liked everything about it and have thought about the exchange "Why are you wearing a costume?" "Oh, these are just my clothes" every day since I watched it. Proves indisputably that Brie Larson really can do anything.

Homecoming
My primary takeaway from Homecoming, "a film by Beyonce," is that if Beyonce were good at any one of the things she's good at, she'd be an incredible force. But she's great at all of them. While some of the stylistic choices of the documentary portions were weird to me (why do all of the interviews with Beyonce sound like they were recorded on a tape recorder that was left in a drawer??), I was still very impressed by the show itself and the obvious work ethic behind it. Plus, I clearly have a soft spot for Texas women who incorporate bee iconography into their lives.

Someone Great
Delightful from start to finish. A romcom about how much you can love your friends. Also I would not be mad if we just started putting Gina Rodriguez in every movie. (I do have some questions about the romcom's preoccupation with journalist protagonists/love interests though.)

Captain Marvel*
Listen: Brie Larson singing Lita Ford karaoke in a cutoff Guns N' Roses t-shirt was an attack on me specifically. But more broadly, Carol Danvers is awesome. I left this movie feeling inspired and excited. Plus, it has a killer soundtrack and the cat is named Goose because of Top Gun. I mean, c'mon.

A Quiet Place
I didn't love it? But I think a lot of that was that I would've benefitted from seeing it in a theater and from seeing it before I saw Bird Box. That being said, it is still interesting, the sound editing is obviously very good and Emily Blunt could've (should've?) won an award on that bathtub scene alone. Insert Patrick Stewart "acting" gif here.

I also watched: a couple of episodes of The Newsroom (not sold yet), the latest episodes of Game of Thrones and The Bold Type, all of The Act (some people, y'all), some of the final season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and about an hour of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (before I turned it off because it was bad).

Book-wise, I continued my slow but enjoyable journey through The Shining. I've always had mixed feelings about the Kubrick film (mostly because Kubrick is The Worst™), but reading this book just further convinces me that it's not actually a good movie and is also a terrible adaptation. It's like Kubrick scanned through half of the book, was like "I'll take the names, thanks" and then pretended the rest didn't matter? If you've ever watched The Shining and thought "this doesn't really make sense??" you should read the book. If you've watched it and haven't thought that, congratulations.

I'm also reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng which, like Ng's other novel Everything I Never Told You, is very good.

Other things I read this month that are good:
  • This piece explaining the greatness of Keanu Reeves is almost as great as Keanu himself. Fave quote: "Nothing gold can stay, except Keanu."
  • I love this piece by Kelsey McKinney on being a woman who loves baseball and the perfect film representation of that: Annie Savoy in 'Bull Durham' (a fantastic film).
  • Not everyone likes Marilyn Manson. In fact, it's fair to say that most people I know probably actively dislike him. But this essay he wrote in June 1999 in response to Columbine – and the unfair treatment he received as a scapegoat during the coverage that followed – is incredible and gut-wrenching in its present-day applications. Fun fact: When Manson was Brian Warner from Ohio, he was a music journalist. Here you can tell.
As far as music, I mostly listened to Lizzo's Cuz I Love You 100 billion times, but I also added some other songs to my heavy rotation. I also saw John Corabi (who was Mötley Crüe's lead singer for one album, which happens to be my favorite one and the one almost everyone else hates) in San Antonio and Seth Meyers (who I love) at the Paramount.

And Too Hot To Live time is already upon us, y'all. It's gonna be a looooong summer.