Not Just Books: December 2016

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Serena’s Picks

ka-miracle-on-34th-street Movie: “Miracle on 34th Street”

Obviously this falls under the category of old movies we’ve “discovered,” but even that’s not true! Let’s be real, I watch this movie EVERY Christmas. It’s a classic for a reason and there is something to love for just about everyone. You have the romance, the friendship, the family, the humor, the villains, the court room action, and the feel goods. Not to mention, the adult in me loves this movie even more now than I did as a kid, with its main message being that even adults should believe in Santa Claus! And the larger message, that whether or not he was actually Santa Claus was beyond the point: Christmas is about loving and caring for everyone, and in that, Mr. Claus was the epitome of Christmas.

mv5bndawmdy0nja2ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwmta1nti3nze-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_TV Show Episode: “President-Elect Trump: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”

Wild emotional swing in the other direction, my second pick is this episode on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” I’ve been watching this show since it started and have really enjoyed the mixture of comedy and in-depth reporting on often bizarre subjects that don’t get nearly enough attention.(Of course, comedy comes first, this isn’t real news, etc.etc.) Obviously, the “not enough attention” bit isn’t the case with this episode’s subject, and while I don’t want to get into the politics of it all, this episode, and particularly the ending, were a bit cathartic for me this last month!

mv5bmweyowvhmgitzjbjyy00nwq2lwizmdutzmfkzwqwyje1mmuwxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndyzmju1odu-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_YouTube Series: “Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party”

My friend Emily (who will hopefully be a guest poster this coming year!) put me on to this YouTube series. For fans of similar YouTube sensations such as the “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma” remakes, this will is a perfect next step, featuring some familiar faces! It’s been fun over the years seeing the evolution of YouTube, and it’s shows like this that really highlight the unique storytelling methods that cane be used on a platform like YouTube vs. traditional TV/movie plotting. It’s also hilarious, so there’s that. Will specifically appeal to English majors and book nerds!

Kate’s Picks

frasierTV Series: “Frasier”

Like Serena, this isn’t really a discovery for me. I have been a fan of the show “Frasier” since I was in grade school, but it has always been one of my comfort shows to say the very least. My husband is also a fan, and we have started a re-watch of it from the beginning (thank you, Netflix!). What I like best about this show is that even though it’s incredibly 90s in a lot of ways, it also stands the test of time with its themes and humor. Plus, everyone on this show is amazing, from curmudgeon-y Frasier, to kind and eccentric Daphne, to fussy Niles and grumpy Martin (and his adorably weird dog Eddie). Even Roz, who is a bit of a 90s relic in her trope of being ‘easy’, is still amazing with her snark and heart. I love this show and boy do I love having access to it when I need it most. Tossed salads and scrambled eggs….

scrooged_film_posterMovie: “Scrooged”

So speaking of all time favorite Christmas movies in the history of EVER, I am going to give a bit shout out to “Scrooged!” Now it’s true that “A Christmas Carol” has been redone and retold many, many times, and while the Muppets did a bang up job, for me Bill Murray did it best. “Scrooged” puts the traditional tale in the TV business in the 1980s, when greed was good and materialism was even better. Bill Murray as Frank Cross is a hoot, and the analogs for the other characters are also spectacular. My personal favorite is Carol Kane as a manic and violent Ghost of Christmas Present. Not only is it funny, it’s also very sweet (the romance between Murray and Karen Allen is just the best), scary (the TV headed Ghost of Christmas Future anyone?), and not at all twee (Calvin is the very best Tiny Tim because he isn’t saccharine at all!). This is the Christmas movie I’m sure to watch twice during the holiday season, and if you haven’t seen it, give it a watch next year.

unnamed-6Web Series: “UNHhhh with Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova

So for anyone who has been paying attention to my gif selection, it should come as no surprise that I LOVE “RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE”!!!!!!!! So, so much. But it’s the offseason at the moment, as “RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 2” ended in October and the next season won’t start until next year. But I’m not worried, because I have the web series “UNHhhh”, which stars Trixie Mattel and Katya. They were two shining stars on a pretty lackluster season (Season 7, sorry Violet Chachki), and now they have their own web series where they just riff and wax poetic about random things, playing off each other and just being silly. Many delights include talking about bad hookups, Katya’s obsession with the movie “Contact”, and really funny editing that mimics the stories they tell. It’s crazy and irreverent and crude and adorable.

What non-book pop culture things have you been obsessed with this month? Tell us in the comments!

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