What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #65

The motto of today’s watching-round-up is pretty easy – I watched a bunch of bad movies, so you wouldn’t have to. Although I suspect a lot of you might have checked them out regardless, because you were curious or the hype was too much. Well, let’s see what my thoughts were on the following films.

Afterlife of the Party

This kind of movie is right up my alley! I’m not going to lie to you, while it was very cliche on a number of levels and Victoria Justice’s acting is sub-par, I ended up really liking it.

If you can look past some of the overly dramatic and loud performances, there’s some really beautiful parts in there. I especially enjoyed Midori Francis’ character and her love story as well as the healing family moments. Midori Francis, in general, is someone I really like to watch on screen and if you haven’t yet seen it, I recommend you watch Dash & Lily (also on Netflix). While everything ended really conveniently and almost laughably in the final scene, I did shed a tear in the end, so, it must have touched me in some way..

Cinderella

Alright, so … where do I start? I went into this movie with super low expectations and the intention of not taking it seriously at all and that kind of worked for me. There’s a lot of British comedians I like in there (James Acaster, Rob Beckett, Doc Brown, Romesh Ranganathan …), who had me laughing, but I’d be lying if I said this was a good movie.

They were trying really hard to make it more modern and give it a boss girl vibe, but it seemed forced and there shouldn’t be anything inherently anti-feminist about wanting to get married. I don’t know, maybe that’s just my opinion. The music was alright in a jukebox-y kind of way, but I was surprised by how little I liked some of the voices, despite there being actual professional singers in the roles at times.

Let’s just say that it was an okay movie and if you have a terrible sense of humor like me, you’ll probably laugh more than the movie really warrants. However, it’s not great and there’s something about it that just feels very self-indulgent on Camila Cabello’s part. I don’t really see her as an actress.

He’s All That

Let me be clear – you cannot take a movie from the 90s, gender-swap it and add some social media to it and call it a day. The parts that were cringey back then and barely worked are not going to suddenly make more sense now. That is my honest opinion and I could not sit through the entire movie at regular speed, so I watched it at 1.5.

Nothing about this whole movie seemed genuine. The message gets completely lost, since the girl is still constantly on her phone broadcasting her life at the end of the movie and I did not see the point of it whatsoever. However, apparently Netflix would rather be talked about badly than not at all, so they struck a multi-movie deal with Addison Rae, who cannot act. I’ll just ignore those movies from here on out and will continue to watch Tanner Buchanan on Cobra Kai.

The Voyeurs

TW: suicide, nudity, voyeurism

Movies where people have watched their neighbors and thus seen a crime (of passion or otherwise) happen and then had to deal with it have been done many a time before. I appreciated that The Voyeurs didn’t go the predictable route and really surprised me towards the end, but that movie made zero sense. Everyone who watched it was really confused at the way they decided to end the story and where they stopped telling what was happening. I don’t want to give anything away for those that are curious, but it felt like parts were missing and that made it very unsatisfying.

Also, it was aesthetically quite pleasing to watch, despite a bit too much nudity for my taste, but I do not need close-ups of eyeballs followed up by cooked eggs anymore. Thank you.

Shows I Watch Weekly

This is the part where I talk about the shows that I watch each week and that are still ongoing. It’s my way of not forgetting them, because I can’t binge them in one go.

Good Trouble (Season 3 Finale) – I’m pissed, because every single character was in a love triangle (or work triangle or whatever) throughout the season and they resolved NOTHING in the final episode. No storyline was concluded, everything is still open and I don’t get why.

Roswell, New Mexico (Season 3) – It’s no secret that Maria DeLuca is my favorite character on the show and all I want is for her to not constantly get hurt. Well, they’ve put her in a coma for the past couple of episodes, which means I’m pissed. I just want her to go on cutesy dates with Gregory Manes. Let me have my ship!

Ted Lasso (Season 2) – This show remains a favorite in every imaginable way! The episode titled “Man City” was one of the best thus far and I cannot wait for the remainder of the season. It just packs such an emotional punch and just goes deeper each week. I love it with my whole freaking heart.

Stargirl (Season 2) – I like that the stakes feel higher again. So far, I’m still not as invested as I was last year, but the change to the CW network hasn’t hurt the story entirely. The best episode was still when Sportsmaster and Tigress briefly left their respective prisons to be parents. Love that one!


Have you watched anything mentioned above? Do you want? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #56

Before the end of the month, I wanted to make sure to have another one of these posts ready for you. I have been watching on and off, but not a lot of it with great enthusiasm. This past year, I have consumed so much content that it has become increasingly difficult to really excite me, but I hope I can talk to you about a couple things today!

Calls

TW: emetophobia

Many people will likely say that this show could have easily worked as a podcast, but I actually appreciated the text and visuals provided. They had a certain hypnotizing quality and not seeing what was actually happening beyond the phone call just made it all the more terrifying in many cases.

Overall, this was such a unique and intense experience. It does get a bit repetitive towards the middle, but the overall picture was chilling and even gave me slight Dark vibes. Another very brilliant Apple TV+ production with many well-known voices to enjoy. I keep loving their content!

For fans of: podcasts, strange happenings and ensemble casts

Zero Chill

It’s no secret that I have a thing for ice skating shows. I was ALL for Spinning Out when it premiered on Netflix, just for them to cancel it after one season. To be frank, if I could have picked another season of Spinning Out or this show, Zero Chill, I would have picked the former.

Zero Chill is much more lighthearted than Spinning Out and doesn’t quite convince as much with their performances (on and off the ice). What I originally thought to be about an ice hockey player and a figure skater working together, is rather a drama about a family that struggles to fulfill both their children’s dreams. It has some really great moments, especially when it comes to friendships and relationships in general, but I think it’s one of those shows likely kept on in the background.

For fans of: ice sports

The One

I’m pretty sure we all have heard of a similar concept to that of The One before. Initially, I was intrigued by the genetic component, making it a scientific matter to find your one true soulmate (barring that I think it’s silly to think there’s only ONE person for you out there ever and insinuations that come with it as a whole concept, but the show proves it isn’t that simple anyway). It quickly became obvious that this series isn’t just about romantic struggles though, but has a lot of focus on mystery and thriller elements. The police investigations take up a big chunk of the screentime.

My struggle here was that I simply did not like or care for many of the main characters. It’s really hard to have a story centered on someone you don’t like and especially with the character of Rebecca Webb, you just didn’t know what her endgame was. She seemed ruthless but to what point exactly was unclear to me and when I cannot gauge someone’s motives, I just get frustrated.

But … I’d still let myself get matched if we had the technology … I’m THAT desperate.

For fans of: soulmatery and crime

Country Comfort

This is one of those really silly shows with questionable acting and laugh tracks which you will either put on for the heck of it or not touch with a ten foot poll. It’s up to you! It had some lovely moments about grief, family and moving on, but it’s also the definition of corny and over the top.

For fans of: The Nanny but make it more Christian and country


Did you watch any of those shows as well? Let’s talk!

Mini Reviews: The Pisces, Animals

Sometimes, during a spur of poor judgement, I am determined to read a bunch of adult general literature novels. There are a couple where I really ended up loving the stories, but more often than not, it’s a vast disappointment. However, I am super stubborn! I will finish even the most annoying reads, so here we are … with some new mini reviews of books I did not actually like.

The Pisces by Melissa Broder

The PiscesHeads up, this book features a lot of sex scenes. You might have been smarter than me and already guessed that based on the cover, but I really didn’t go into it expecting that kind of content at all. I honestly don’t know why though, I am just naive like that.

Anyway, I feel like opinions could be divided on this book. You’re either going to be all in and enjoy this or hate it … like me. Lucy, the main character, makes it really hard to root for her. I understand that her mental state was part of a series of questionable decisions, but she treated people who genuinely cared about her so terribly. Worst of all was, however, the animal abuse and neglect. That woman sedated a dog just because she was horny and wanted to be able to have sex in peace. It made me extremely uncomfortable to read. On a similar note in terms of my comfort with the story, there are also several mentions of suicide and it was brushed off way too casually for my taste.

Lastly, the actual reason I picked up the book – the merman/the magical elements set in a common world. I think the fantastical elements were integrated in the story quite naturally and I can’t fault the author for that. My problem though is that I didn’t see the point of it all. The way I see it, any other love interest could have been added and the story would have resulted in a similar ending.

Fazit: 1/5 stars! It literally wouldn’t have made a difference if the merman had been replaced with another land-based dude …

Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth

AnimalsI don’t enjoy talking about books badly. In fact, if you go through the various reviews I have written on this blog, most of them are really praises or simply riddled with mediocre but not terrible ratings. But this book, I did not like it at all.

Laura lives with her wild best friend Tyler. They have a co-dependent relationship laced with alcohol and drugs. But Laura is also engaged to Jim, who pictures a more regular life for them now that they are taking on a serious commitment. Obviously, Laura can’t have both, but if you ask me, she doesn’t want both anyway. She wants to spend time and get wrecked with Tyler. She loves being miserable and every chapter was just an endless cycle of hangover induced bad decisions.

Maybe I envisioned something different for this book, but I simply could not see the point of it all. I did not understand why Tyler and Laura were so entangled and willing to destroy their health for … misery? I also did not see the point of dragging out the relationship between Laura and Jim when there wasn’t a single moment of them seeming compatible. Still, someone must have seen the point in it all, since this book was made into a movie.

Fazit: 1/5 stars! No, thank you.

Have you read any of those books? Did you feel differently about them? Let’s chat!

Mini Reviews: The Dire King, Defy Me, Find Me

You won’t believe it, but I have read THREE books THIS WEEK!? It’s been such a long time since I have done this, but it feels like old me. I am not saying I am back to my old form completely, but this is a really good thing. I missed books! (I mean, I love TV shows and movies, but there’s just something about creating a whole world just in your head. Still, because I don’t want a massive hold-back on reviews and I don’t actually have a huge amount to say about each book, I am just going to do mini reviews for them. Here we go:

The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)

The Dire King is the last installment in the Jackaby series, a book series I mainly started due to cover lust, but never really regretted picking up. We are going to ignore the fact that it took me a year to finish this book, because I didn’t want to take it to Berlin with me and only read bits and pieces when I came back to visit, because overall, I really enjoyed this series.

The things I struggled with most, were probably during the crucial “finale battle” scenes. I had a hard time following descriptions of places and couldn’t really picture where characters were at what point during the fight – which is not ideal, to say the least. However, I loved how it all came together in the end! I don’t think this is my favourite part in the entire series, but I liked the thought process behind the end we got, because you could really see how it had all been building up to this.

Also, twains kind of rock!

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Not a bad ending as far as they go!

Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi

Defy Me (Shatter Me, #5)I may have given the previous installment in the ever growing Shatter Me series a good rating, but in all honesty, I was disappointed with it. The characters were barely recognisable and the writing style had changed drastically, although it had been one of my favourite components of the original trilogy. I struggled, to say the least. However, something brought me back into the fold with Defy Me.

I could see how this part of the series might split people into two camps, because nothing much happens. The events that took place during the 370-something pages could have probably be told in half that, but I am glad Tahereh Mafi took her time. I loved being back deep into the character’s minds. I loved getting all the angst and complexity that didn’t come from silly romance fails but from decades of abuse and the terrifying task of piecing a broken mind back together. It felt dark and like I couldn’t believe all the things that had happened to bring us to where the book is now.

Maybe, just maybe, not everything ties in nicely with the OG trilogy and I am a little sad at that too. But moving forward with these new books, you’ll just have to accept things or maybe don’t pick up the sequels at all. I was definitely much more on board with this than Restore Me (except for the last 3-4 chapters, because they were sappy and there was legit something that made me question if I just read a whole paragraph wrong with someone’s gunshot wound just disappearing from one chapter to the next …).

Fazit: 4/5 stars! My interest for this series is back again.

Find Me (Call Me By Your Name #2) by André Aciman

Find Me (Call Me By Your Name, #2)For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know how much I adore the Call Me By Your Name book. I love to quote from it, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and all that despite knowing that it has some issues (nevermind the ones concerning the author himself), so when a sequel was announced, I was on board! BIGGEST. LITERARY. DISAPPOINTMENT. OF. MY. LIFE!

This was definitely marketed as a sequel. The blurb on the book (On Goodreads it does mention the dad in the synopsis, but not on the book!) just talks about Elio and Oliver and their love echoing through time, but you know what? That’s not what this book is about, because in the 260 pages I just read, Elio doesn’t show up until after 100+ pages and Oliver past the 200+ page mark. The time they have actual page time together isn’t even noteworthy. Instead, you get to watch Elio’s now divorced dad catch a bad case of instalove (yes, not just instalust, which I would get with this book) for a woman half his age on the train. And then you get to watch Elio do the same just in reverse at a concert.

Hear me out, I am okay with age differences in consenting adult relationships. You do you! I was, however, bugged by the constant mention of casual cheating, like monogamy is just the worst. I don’t mind people in polyamorous or open relationships, but that’s just not what these characters were in at the time of their story. I don’t even want to get started on the aphobic comments that were made either. It’s just not what I signed up for with this book! I was promised the continuation of an epic love … and I only got a rushed fake happy ending for them. I think I am just going to pretend I never read this …

Fazit: 1/5 stars! I regret getting this book so much.

Have you read any of these books or do you want to? Let’s talk about that!

Mini Reviews: Dumplin’ and Locke & Key

I am actually one book ahead of schedule for my Goodreads reading challenge and that has me super pumped. I started out the year definitely less in a reading slump than before, but now that some urgent stuff at work has crept in and I have been distracted, it slowed down again. Anyway, I wanted to share with you a couple more books I read this month, so here we go:

Dumplin‘ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’ Movie Tie-in EditionI knew of the existence of this book for quite some time, but I never really paid attention to it (my bad, I am sorry). However, after the Netflix trailer for the movie adaptation dropped, I kind of knew I had to read it and I am so glad I picked up this book.

Dumplin’ was such a relatable and heartbreaking yet heartwarming read – I had the best of times flying through the pages. I don’t want to necessarily compare it to the movie (which Netflix still hasn’t released in my current territory by the way), but it had a completely different focus in my opinion. While I really enjoyed seeing more of Bo on the pages (he’s seriously such a great love interest. He’s not without flaws, but I love how he never really gave up on Willowdean), I felt like the mother-daughter-relationship was actually explored in a bit more depth in the movie. Both still had very interesting explorations of grief, confidence, changing relationships, experiencing life at different speeds and body shaming of all sorts; I enjoyed it!

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Would recommend, especially if you are into trying Dolly Parton as your reading soundtrack while you are at it.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft (Vol. 1) by Joe Hill/Gabriel Rodríguez

Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key, #1)Reading comics every now and then just makes sense to me. It cleanses my pallet, because there is so much less text and sometimes that’s just what I need. I picked this one in particular due to it being free on my Kindle at the moment of my reading it and because this is yet another comic book that is getting adapted for the small screen. By now I don’t think I need to explain that I have a thing for adaptations anymore.

The concept of the series is definitely fascinating. It opens up the doors for so many possibilities and I am more than curious to see how this will translate in the show they are making. I am a sucker for a good supernatural story after all! However, an issue I have found with quite a few comics lately is that I don’t enjoy violent content. Sure, it’s gritty and dark and often the igniting incident that propels the characters into a new life, but … I don’t particularly want to see that?

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Whenever we start telling stories without the gore, my ratings for comics will be higher than average.

That’s it from my side. I hope you’ve enjoyed those really rather short reviews! Let’s chat in the comments below!