Not Just Book: January 2022

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

Movie: “Wind River”

I just stumbled across this movie on Netflix while mindlessly scrolling the other night. I’ve always liked Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olson has really been moving up my list as well recently, especially after her excellent performance in “WandaVision.” After a girl has found dead in the woods in rural Wyoming, a wildlife game tracker and an FBI agent team up to track down the culpable parties. It’s a dark, grim look into the ongoing tragedy of the number of Native women who go missing each year, never recorded and never given justice. I thought the movie did a really good job diving into the struggles that are found on reservations and the ease at which these young women can fall through the cracks.

Movie: “The Electric Life of Louis Wain”

Another stumbled upon movie! But this one drew me in for a few specific reasons: historical biographical movies are a favorite of mine; Benedict Cumberbatch is always excellent; and the story heavily featured cats. Yes, cats. The movie follows the life of Louis Wain, a British man who is responsible for the hundreds of cat pictures that you’re likely familiar with from the Victorian era (the original “Three Little Kittens” images, for example). It was a lot darker and more depressing than I expected, but it was also an excellent exploration of mental illness and hope in the face of darkness. Cat-lovers, especially, should check it out!

Disney+ Show: “Hawkeye”

Two Jeremey Renner shows/movies in one post! But my husband and I have been diligentlyh working our way through the Disney+ Marvel mini series, and we finally finished them all up with “Hawkeye” this month. I have to say, I might have enjoyed this one the most! I think “WandaVision” was probably the best, really, but I had a lot of fun watching this one and definitely laughed the most during this one. Renner and Hailee Steinfield had great chemistry, and I was really surprised by Streinfield’s comedic chops. This series also had a lot of fun surprises of the sort that were perfectly primed for me towards characters that I’ve enjoyed from other Marvel properties. If you’ve liked the other Marvel mini series, this is definitely one to check out!

Kate’s Picks

Netflix Show: “Cobra Kai”

It’s back, it’s back, it’s finally back! My favorite Netflix show (and probably favorite show on TV right now) finally dropped Season 4 on New Year’s Eve, and let me tell you, our Omicron avoiding isolated New Year was filled with “Cobra Kai” and it was GLORIOUS. When we left off last season, Johnny and Daniel decided to team their dojos up to go up against Kreese and his Cobra Kai students in hopes of running him out of the Valley forever. As one could imagine, it doesn’t go smoothly, and the students of both Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang are left to try and learn new styles and team up while their senseis spar. I am still madly in love with Johnny Lawrence in all his sullen himbo glory, and once again teenage MVP Miguel shines bright and fills me with all the joy. But it was the return of “Karate Kid 3” villain Terry Silver that created the most interesting waves this season, as this secondary antagonist gets to chew some scenery while still acknowledging that his very existence and characterization in his origin movie is ridiculous. So when do we get Season 5?

TV Show: “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

Admittedly, I wasn’t super into Season 13 of “Drag Race”. I don’t know if it was the fact I didn’t really connect with many of the queens, or if it was the strange set up of splitting them up from the get go into winners and losers of initial lip syncs, or what, but I was not super invested and only watched here and there. So I was thinking that Season 14 may be another challenge. But I can say that as of right now, my worries have been assuaged, and I am enjoying this newest regular season! No more bullshit Winner’s Circle and Porkchop groups! So far the girls seem less manufactured and more genuine! I already have a few queens I really like (Kerri Colby, Kornbread, Willow Pill)! I’m hoping that it will sustain itself, because if we could get a stellar season after a stellar “All Stars” cycle that will make my “Drag Race” fix a bit more sated than I was last year!

HBO Max Show: “Peacemaker”

As I mentioned back in August, I really enjoyed James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad” for the campy, snide, ultraviolent rollercoaster it was. When it ended with the news that John Cena’s Peacemaker was actually still alive, and that he was getting his own TV show, I was sort of intrigued, but also a little skeptical. Not that I didn’t like Cena’s performance, as I did, but I wasn’t sure if the character could carry a show. Well I’m happy to say that I was wrong, because “Peacemaker” is a hoot. Picking up where “The Suicide Squad” left off, Peacemaker is out of the hospital and thinks he’s off scot free… until he’s recruited again and badgered into service for a black ops group, this time targeting beings called ‘butterflies’. It goes as well as to be expected. Not only is Cena charming and funny, but the supporting characters are all fantastic. My favorite is Danielle Brooks’s Leota, the daughter of Amanda Waller who is new to the group and pretty much the opposite of her mother. And it has AMAZING opening credits. Oh, and FAR more pathos than I was expecting. Like, sobbing into my hands pathos at one point. I am REALLY enjoying this show.

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