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!
Movie: “Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3”
Hot take: Marvel has been struggling lately. You heard it first here. But I’ve still been diligently making my way to the theater in the hopes that things will turn a corner soon. And while this movie was perhaps not that corner, it was still a whole lot better than the several movies that came before it. Mostly because I imagine it would be really hard to make a truly bad movie with a cast that is this good and has this level of chemistry with one another. Though, I will say this movie continues the trend where everything has to be SO GRIM all of the time. Can we just get back to some happy storylines? Maybe some love stories that don’t end in tragedy?
Netflix Show: “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story”
No, no we cannot. Because here we go with “Bridgerton,” another of my go-to feel good franchises, taking on a story that we all know is made up of one tragedy after another. And that’s not even adding in the marital horror that we got in this one that I wasn’t even expecting! But, again, the show was saved by fantastic casting and excellent writing. I really did enjoy this one, but man, I’m so sick of the bummer storylines. I can’t wait for season 3. If they make that one sad somehow, I might just riot.
TV Show: “The Great American Baking Show”
What do you look to when you see sadness all around? Baking reality tv, of course! I knew there was an American version of this show, but I never really looked into it. But here’s a win for Roku’s advertising on my TV! I saw the poster for this one pot up, I saw my two familiar judges, and I clicked right on through. I know Paul has been a judge for a few seasons on this show now, but I am happiest with my favorite two judges together. I also really liked the two new hosts. I also really liked that this was happy. I repeat, happiness was found here.
TV Show: “Star Trek: Picard”
Back in 2020 Serena and I both picked the first season of “Picard” for a Not Just Books post, as the revisiting of “Star Trek”‘s Captain Jean-Luc Picard in his later years was satisfying and pretty interesting. I did watch Season 2, and while it was fine, it didn’t make the cut when I watched it. But let me tell you, this third and final season was AMAZING, if ONLY because it has finally decided to give in to the fan service that Trekkies have been clamoring for since Season 1. Picard has gone back to his quiet life on the vineyard, but then he gets an SOS message from his former crew member/ former lover Beverly Crusher seeking his help. Picard enlists the help of Will Riker in hopes of helping Bev, and then reunites with more former crew members as they all have to face a new, but familiar, villain that threatens The Federation. I love “Next Generation” and all of its players so seeing so many of them come back (Bev! Geordi! WORF!) was so satisfying, but what is ALSO satisfying is that it harkens back to other “Trek” series like “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager” as well. It just feels like a reunion of old friends that I’ve missed for a very long time.
Film: “Evil Dead Rise”
I’ve been an “Evil Dead” fan since high school, and “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn” is a top 3 horror movie for me. And while it’s true that Bruce Campbell has hung up the chainsaw, fear not, fans, because “Evil Dead Rise” is a FABULOUS new story for the “Evil Dead” canon, tapping into its scary and gory roots and creating a new iconic Deadite and a new iconic hero. Both of whom are women. Beth, facing a personal crisis, goes to visit her sister Ellie and her nieces and nephew in a shabby L.A. apartment building. When an earthquake hits, nephew Danny finds a strange book and recordings in a newly opened area. When he plays the records, an evil force possesses Ellie, turning her into a Deadite. Now Beth has to try and save herself and her niblings before Ellie takes their souls. This movie is a goddamn blast, with disgusting special effects, a rad successor to Ash Williams in Beth, and an assuredly legendary new horror villain in Deadite Ellie. And yes, there is a chainsaw. And a cheese grater. MAKE OF THAT WHAT YOU WILL. I loved this movie, I was clapping my hands in glee through the last third of it.
TV Show: “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars”
Well it’s true that Season 15 of “Drag Race” was a little bit of a mixed bag for me (top two notwithstanding, I love them both), but luckily “All Stars” Season 8 has started and it is off to a grand start! Last season was All Winners, and while it was nice seeing all of these queens showcased for the entire season, I missed the old format, and that format is BACK! A few of my previous faves have been selected to compete this All Stars cycle (Heidi N Closet! JESSICA WILD!!), and seeing them back with even bigger and better concepts and wardrobes and performances has been a treat. It’s also really cool seeing a few queens who were either from early seasons (again, JESSICA WILD!!), or were early outs on their season (like Jaymes Mansfield or Kahanna Montrese), being given another chance, and seeing their growth is a joy. I also love seeing who they are picking for the lip sync assassins this season, as they have been FIERCE thus far (Aja was PHENOMENAL!). I love having this show back and back to the levels I expect. In a moment where laws are being passed to oppress trans people and drag performers, it’s all the more important to find the joy and subversion in these artists and the art of drag!