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!
Disney+ Show: “Moonknight”
I know very little about the original Moonlight character other than he was essentially Marvel’s answer to Batman. So it was fun learning more about this character via this show! Fans of the character will likely notice a lot more than I did (for example, I think the show frames the original set-up in a unique way that even a newbie like me could spot). But it’s still a fun ride even for the completely uninitiated. Oscar Isaac is great, as always, and this show gives him a lot of room to really show his range. But the surprise character was Ethan Hawke’s stand-out villain. I really had fun with this show and am excited to see where it goes from here and how Moonknight fits in with the rest of the Marvel cast.
Here’s another movie that everyone watched and for some reason I never got to until a decade later. I think I was hung up on Ben Affleck, and I’m not even sure why. It’s not like he’s a bad actor, but I think I still had a long memory on things like “Pearl Harbor” and “Armageddon.” Anyways, shocking take, but I really liked this movie! I honestly didn’t even know that much about it going in, and I was way more stressed out watching it than I had expected. I don’t really know who to recommend this to since I really think I’m probably the last person on the planet to see this movie, so….
Mini Series: “Pistol”
I have a vivid memory of being sixteen years old and walking into Sam Goodie with my Mom, holding some saved up allowance money and looking for a CD to buy. I decided to go with “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” specifically because my Mom was vaguely horrified by it. I’ve been a fan ever since. When I heard that Danny Boyle was making a mini series about the band (based on the fantastic memoir “Lonely Boy” by guitarist Steve Jones), I was amped. “Pistol” is a dramatization of the formation and implosion of my favorite punk band, as well as an examination of post-War Britain and how the fed up disenfranchised youth found ways to rebel through fashion, music, and anti-fascist ideology. And yes, the Pistols have a lot to do with that. The cast is great, the music is great, and while the show clearly takes some license with the story, I very much appreciated how the series handled the Sid and Nancy storyline (aka, they weren’t romanticized or demonized; they were portrayed as the messed up kids they were). I especially loved Sydney Chandler as Chrissie Hynde, Jones’s friend and on again off again lover, who is a music icon in her own right.
Film: “Fire Island”
I’m not the Austen fan that Serena is, but when I found out that “Fire Island”, a queer rom-com by Joel Kim Booster starring himself and Bowen Yang, was a gay retelling of “Pride and Prejudice” I was SUPER interested. “Fire Island” follows a group of five friends who are on their annual trip to Fire Island. Noah and his friends are looking forward to a fun vacation, though Noah is determined to find somewhat shy Howie a date. When they meet Charlie Howie is smitten, though Noah does NOT like Charlie’s friend Will… You can probably guess where it goes from here. Not only is this movie so sweet and romantic, it’s also pretty damn funny and a savvy update of a classic literature tale that is well loved. As someone who has heard second hand stories about Fire Island from friends, it also captures the insane vacation crazy vibe that the destination island is, and made it seem way fun, if not a little overwhelming. It’s also great seeing not only gay representation in rom coms, but also stories starring AAPI characters. If you like “Pride and Prejudice” and want a cute rom com, seek this one out!
Event: American Library Association Annual Conference 2022
It had been so long since we attended ALAAC, and this one in 2022 was a grand return after being swiftly rebuffed by COVID in 2020. And it was everything we hoped it would be…. as well as a hotbed of political turmoil. That said, we were able to meet some authors we were interested in (Angeline Boulley! R.L. Stine!), hear some speakers we were excited for (R.L. Stine again!), and get far too many ARCS of books that we then had to maneuver through our bags to get on the plane home! But it was also fun being in D.C., as we took a little time to see the sights, have some nice food on patios on very lovely evenings, aaaaand go down to the Supreme Court the day Roe was overturned and make our disgust and anger known. All in all, it was a successful conference. Perhaps we’ll be back next year in Chicago.