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!
Netflix Movie: “Rebecca”
I watched the 1940 version of “Rebecca” back when I was a kid, and my family was going through a classic film phase. It was one of my early exposures to Gothic stories, especially ones that aren’t set in the “Wuthering Heights”/”Jane Eyre” period of history. So I was excited to see that we were getting a new version of the story in 2020. While the movie is a shorter affair and thus has to greatly reduce the time it spends developing the creepy nature of the house and Rebecca’s history, I did, overall, enjoy this version. Lily James was perfectly cast. Armie Hammer was…also there. I do wish the movie had leaned in a bit more into not only the abject creepy aspects of the story, but also the isolation and “fish out of water” feeling that our heroine languishes beneath for much of the book. Fans of the novel should definitely check it out.
Movie: “News of the World”
I haven’t gotten around to reading “News of the World” yet, though my husband and in-laws loved it. I have read the author’s other book, “Rebel Women” and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to check this movie out. Set shortly after the Civil War, the story follows a man who’s made a profession of travelling the south reading newspapers to the gathered towns people who have little access to what is going on in the further reaches of their own country. Along the way, he meets a young girl who has been raised by a Native American tribe and also doesn’t seem to fit in the current world order. It’s a lovely movie, with the beautiful landscape and cinematography almost stealing the show from the main leads. But Tom Hanks is a joy as always and Helena Zengel was excellent as well. There were definitely tears involved, but I really loved this movie and would definitely recommend it to most everyone.
TV Show: “The Nanny”
I had always said that the moment that 90s sitcom “The Nanny” dropped on streaming, that would be one of the greatest streaming moments of my life, and lo and behold, HBOMax went and made my dream come true! I loved this Fran Drescher comedy from the early to mid 1990s, where she stars as fun and sassy Fran Fine, a Queens woman who ends up nannying for a wealthy Upper East Side family. And while it certainly has its dated elements (all the Trump jokes just don’t feel so funny anymore), I am still completely enamored with this show. The cast is hilarious, and all of them having great chemistry with each other (my favorite is sarcastic and dry butler Niles, because of COURSE). The fashions of the era are AMAZING in their gaucheness! And Fran Fine is still a wonderful main character with a great sense of humor and a lot of heart (why yes, I have cried a few times during this rewatch). Even my husband loves to get in on the action, given that part of his family were, indeed, Jewish New Yorkers living in Queens. It’s just wonderful and I’m so happy I can stream it now.
TV Show: “Ted Lasso”
I’d heard about “Ted Lasso” in passing many many times in the past year, and while I kind of knew what it was about (“Jason Sudeikis plays a sports coach, right?” was my exact question to my husband), I didn’t know too much. So when my husband decided to watch it, I went in a little blind. But man, I’m glad he threw it on our TV, because it is A DELIGHT! Yes, Jason Sudeikis plays Ted Lasso, an American football coach from Kansas who is recruited to go be the new European football coach for a team in England. While the owner of the team, Rebecca, has her reasons for hiring a man completely oblivious to how the game of soccer works, Lasso is optimistic, incredibly kind, and has the gumption to try and bring his team together! It’s supremely sweet, has a lot of really heartfelt performances (my personal favorite is that of Juno Temple who plays Keeley, a footballer’s girlfriend who is just the cutest), and yes, is VERY funny. And with everything going on, it’s a lovely escape.
Film: “Promising Young Woman”
We both individual started entries for this movie before realizing it, so instead of repeating ourselves, here’s a joint entry! This thriller film daunted both of us for awhile, but we each finally sat down to watch it and OOF. It is really good, but really, REALLY dark (though apt as hell). Carey Mulligan plays Cassie, a woman who wants to get vengeance for her best friend, who was raped by Cassie’s medical school classmate, and who died by suicide after no action was taken against her rapist. Cassie spends her free time pretending to be drunk at clubs and bars, and when men take her home in hopes of taking advantage, she reveals her sobriety and turns the tables. When she finds out Nina’s rapist is getting married, she decides to punish everyone she feels led to Nina’s death. It’s a searing, dark, and sometimes very funny film that less so takes on men (though it’s true there are few men in this who aren’t terrible), but more takes on a society that allows men to victimize women without consequence. It also takes on the ways that trauma can completely take over someone’s life. Steel yourself for this one, guys.