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!
I’ve been staring at this as it continually shows up on my recommended viewing list for the last year or so on Netflix. For some reason, I never got around to watching it. What was wrong with me?? I mean, I love me some historical mini series. Perhaps it was my general lack of knowledge of the Windsor family as a whole. But once I finally started it, I was hooked! And I’ve found that my lack of knowledge might actually be making me enjoy it more. It’s gotten to the point now that I sometimes watch the show with a laptop open on my lap so I can Google the various different historical facts that come in the show. Was Prince Philip really an insecure prat? What about that fog?! Did Winston Churchill really burn a portrait of himself? These may be commonly known things to others, but I’ve tremendously enjoyed diving into this political drama and highly recommend it for fans of historical shows or fans of Queen Elizabeth. Yes, her corgis make appearances.
Movie: “John Wick”
Alas, yet another one where I am late to the game! But I do get there, you have to give me that. I’ve always been a fan of Keanu Reeves. Sure, his dialogue can come off as slightly stilted, but there’s no denying his success as an action movie star. And at its core, that’s all the movie “John Wick” is about. The plot is simple: jerk crime lord son (of course the actor who plays Theon Greyjoy in “Game of Thrones” was cast in this role. That poor actor, is he now just type cast as “weaselly, horrible, ultimately cowardly and insecure, villains?”) steals John Wick’s car and kills his dog (this was truly traumatizing for me, even though I knew it was coming!) Then the entire rest of the movie is a straight forward revenge plot with John Wick taking out anyone who gets in his way. And it was excellent! Other movies could learn a thing or do from this movie. Your story doesn’t have to be crazy complicated to be good.
Netflix Show: “Stranger Things 2”
Obviously “Stranger Things 2” had to make it on this list for me! I was one of those people who was practically counting down the days and then binged watched it immediately after it came out. Kate and I were talking about casting our friends as characters in it the other day (we’re nerdy like that, but that’s nothing new), and she was like “As long as I’m not Steve…” And my response was “What?!?! You obviously have watched the second season yet! Get on that girl!” Cuz, let’s be real, Steve was awesome. Alongside so many other new and awesome things! Eleven’s whole journey, Will’s more active presence within the show, the ever expanding and more terrifying Upside Down. There were a few bumps in the road, but in my opinion, season 2 was a complete success. And now I can happily go and binge watch both seasons back to back while I start up yet another countdown to season 3.
I am a gigantic fan of John Carpenter’s movies, as his range is huge and his stories are compelling. From “Halloween” to “Escape from New York” to my personal favorite “Starman”, Carpenter has created many worlds of horror, wonder, and even sometimes joy. He also tends to write the music for his movies (with a few exceptions, such as “Starman” and “The Thing”), and each theme has been compiled for his album “Anthology”. I was lucky enough to see him perform a number of the songs from this album in concert, and it was a serious pleasure to watch this icon rock out on stage with his synthesizer and back up band. I’ve been blasting the album ever since.
As a connoisseur of bad movies, it is one of my great shames that I have never seen “The Room”, the “Citizen Kane” of bad movies. This film is so notoriously bad that it has a cult following devoted to its awfulness. It was written, (sort of) directed by, and starred the enigmatic and strange Tommy Wiseau. The making of it was so bizarre that Greg Sestero, cast member and close friend of Wiseau, wrote a book about the experience of being in this movie. And now that has been turned into a movie starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau. Apparently its getting RAVE reviews on the independent and film festival circuits. I am so excited to see this movie (a review of the book will be here in the near future), I have been watching the trailer in anticipation. It looks strange, funny, and oddly a bit sweet. Sign me up.
Trust and believe, it was kind of a toss up between this and “Justice League” (as yes, I did enjoy that movie), but ultimately the Taika Waititi factor made this one the winner. As a DC Girl, that says a lot. Thor has always been my favorite member of the Avengers, if only because his stories don’t seem to take him TOO seriously. Add in the director of one of my faves, “What We Do In The Shadows”, and you get a really fun, really funny, and sugar blasted ride. Not only did we get much loved returns of Loki, Heimdall, and Thor himself, we also got some great new characters. While Valkyrie was EXCELLENT and Hela was BADASS, it was Jeff Goldblum’s quirky and dramatic Grandmaster who cemented this movie as a serious winner.