Along for the Ride: Book vs. Movie

Movie poster of Along for the Ride with the text "book vs. movie"

What is better – the book or the movie? It’s an age old question that we bookworms ask ourselves and I’m happy to share my perspective on the novel Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen as well as its Netflix adaptation. It’s been a while since I’ve done a post like this, but I hope you’ll love diving into this as much as I did reading, watching and now writing the post for it.

General Plot

Ever since her parents started fighting and eventually divorced, Auden hasn’t had a full night of sleep. She did, however, do everything that was expected of her. Got good grades, excelled in academics, attended her mother’s soirees rather than hang out with people her own age … forgetting to be a kid/teen in the process. Now, it’s the summer before college and Auden decides to spend it with her father and stepmother in a quaint beach town. What promises to be a carefree summer proves to have more challenges in store for her, especially after meeting fellow insomniac Eli.

Book

Some of you already know this, but Along for the Ride was my first foray into the writing of Sarah Dessen. My expectations were pretty high, just because so many of my friends and fellow bloggers have gotten lost in and fallen in love with her stories. I can confidently say that I devoured and enjoyed the book, but that I was also painfully aware that this was written more than a decade ago.

The way “girly” things were constantly put down and judged, even after some growth on several characters parts, just really nagged me. A lot of Auden’s POV was very much along the lines of “I’m not like other girls” and that was honestly quite frustrating. I’m not saying that this doesn’t happen in books today at all, but I think we’re more aware of that kind of internalized misogyny and try to avoid it.

Auden was hard to love at first, but it made sense in the context of the story and how she was raised. I loved seeing her warm to the people in her life and while her love story with Eli was cute, I preferred her interactions with her stepmother, Heidi (I did not and probably never will like her biological parents in the book). I also appreciated that Auden’s friendship played a huge role in the book. In general, the teen romance came second to the parental struggles for me. I don’t know if that has something to do with my age or because I thought that these conflicts were better developed, but those were definitely the emotionally hard-hitting scenes. Complex family structures will forever be my jam.

Still, Eli is a big part of the picture and something about their late night adventures just really appealed to me. I wasn’t a very adventurous kid myself, even though I’m sure a couple people would like to disagree on that, but something about the way their relationship came to be satisfied a yearning within me. Nonetheless, I kept wishing to know more about Eli. To maybe follow his perspective every once in a while to truly understand his pain.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars! True to the story, I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish reading it.

Page count: 383
Publisher: Viking Books

*For more information on the book, head over to Goodreads or Storygraph!*

Movie

When the movie started, for the first ten minutes or so, I was certain this was going to be a super faithful adaptation and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I liked the book alright, but I knew that it wouldn’t hurt to update a lot of the material. The longer I watched though, the more changes I noted and … I think most of them are for the better?

The main story still stays completely the same, barely anything major differs from the source material, but a movie only gives you a limited amount of time to tell a story and Along for the Ride is on the longer side of YA fiction. There had to be some decisions made and I’m on board with most of them. Here are the most notable ones:

  • In the book, Auden has an older brother, which is not the case in the movie. He is the kind of boy, who can seemingly do no wrong and does all the carefree and irresponsible activities Auden never dared to. While I think he was an interesting counterpart in the book, I think it would have diluted what they were trying to tell here. He also tended to jetset around the globe and it would have just been too complicated to incorporate for not a very big payoff.
  • When Auden first arrives, she goes to The Tip, a place where all the youth comes to party. She ends up making out with this guy, Jake, which sparks a lot of drama. That does happen in both stories, but felt way less annoying in the movie because of one big change – Jake is never mentioned to be Eli’s brother. I’m not saying this never happens in real life, but it did make things unnecessarily uncomfortable, when there was plenty of Jake-drama to be had without that little detail.
  • The entire third act conflict – which is one of my most dreaded elements of romantic storylines – was handled so much better. By cutting some characters and instead using already established ones, they tightened up the relationships and even made some people more likable to me. It also wasn’t dragged out over weeks, but rather quickly resolved through some internal reflection. I was here for that!

I really loved this movie. It made me miss being by the ocean, which is a general state of being for me, but was amplified here. It made me want to go on adventures with strangers in the night and made me reminisce when I did some stupid stuff when I was younger.  Due to the time constraints, there wasn’t as much depth and exploration of the family troubles, but I think that Eli got a better third act instead, which was maybe also necessary.

I still would have liked to dig deeper on some parts. I don’t want to say that relationships were rushed, but I definitely felt like I was connected more to the characters because of my knowledge from the books rather than what I learned through the movie. Maggie, for example, is beautiful and warm in the movie, but I think that I knew her even better in the books. She’s a key figure, but we definitely don’t harp on her story as much. I’d still watch it again in a heartbeat though!

As a last note, I just have to say that this was some really perfect casting! Everyone was exactly how I envisioned them to be, down to little mannerisms. Kudos to the casting director!

Conclusion

For me, the movie is a winner. I missed some of the deeper emotional bits from the book, but much of the things that annoyed me were changed for the better and I have to give credit for that. Sofia Alvarez (who adapted the book for the screenplay and directed the movie, but was also involved with TATBILB) knows how to transform books into lovely movies.

Dance party in the movie Along for the Ride
credit: Netflix

Previous book to adaptation comparisons:


Do you agree with my assessment? Have you read and/or watched Along for the Ride? Let’s talk about that!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #70

As I’ve recently started my vacation, I’ve also binged more and more TV shows and movies. I thought it was about time I’d get you all caught up, before this post gets out of hand. I did find so many things I liked!

The Witcher (Season 2)

It’s been two whole years since the last season and I, once again, binged it all in one sitting. I don’t know what it is exactly, but this season didn’t work as well for me as the previous one. That’s not to say it was bad, because it wasn’t, but it also didn’t excite me as much. This time around, there were no timeline shenanigans and I felt the final twist was somewhat predictable (at least the thing I imagined happened to be exactly the thing that was the final frame?).

To me, we got to spend more time with characters last season, getting to know them and their fears and dreams in detail, while it felt more rushed this time around. I’m glad we got a focus on Ciri, because I couldn’t quite grasp her before and she feels much more well-rounded as a character now. Still, there was a kind of emotional disconnect from me to the characters in general, despite several bonding moments that were clearly meant to evoke some sort of feeling. You’d think Daddy Geralt would work more for me, but it just felt a little bland.

There was a clear story-thread throughout the entire season, less “monster of the episode”-type stuff, but I’m still confused about some revelations or developments. I’d very much like to continue with the story as a whole, but I hope the break won’t be too long. (I very much understand why it took that long and I do not blame them for keeping their production, crew and cast safe! I want to make it very clear that I am pro Covid-safety and stopping work during a pandemic.)

Little hint: If you stay past the credits of the finale episode, you’ll get a first glimpse at the spin-off The Witcher: Blood Origin!

The Big Leap (Season 1)

I loved this show with my whole heart. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me want to dance and sing. While it works (kind of) as a self-contained mini-series, I’d very much appreciate another season. This show totally works for you, if you like a show about reality shows, but make it fictional and dramatized. The characters were absolutely brilliant and lovable and so very easy to let into your heart. I have so many favorite moments and dynamics. At the end of the day, I can only say that it was beautiful and human and I hope people watch it online now that it’s on hulu (or Disney+ if you’re in Europe. Sorry, not sure about other territories).

The Sex Lives of College Girls (Season 1)

I 100% didn’t expect to enjoy this show as much as I did. I thought it was just going to be some comedy about sex, but it really wasn’t. It had a lot of depth, while still providing quite a bit of humor. I’m rooting for these girls and I’m happy to announce that Season 2 was already confirmed, so I don’t actually have to worry about whether I have to prematurely say goodbye to characters I adore again. There’s just so many themes that get picked up that I don’t even know where to start. I especially liked Bela’s ambitions to become a comedy writer, but was heartbroken about some developments. Kimberley is a favorite. She tries so hard, but definitely says the wrong thing a lot. Her story focuses quite a bit on being inexperienced and poor surrounded by much worldlier people with money and influence. Leighton has this whole sexual identity crisis, which was done very realistically in my eyes and lastly, there’s Whitney. I liked her, but I felt her story arc was the least developed.

Lost in Space (Season 3)

This was the final season of the show and it was a good one. Not AS good as previous ones, but it gave us a satisfying ending.

I think most of my issues with the season were the fact that the Robinsons kept getting separated and that it all just felt a little bit rushed. Maybe that’s because they had more planned and needed to cram it all into one season or maybe it just happened, because sometimes that’s how it goes. Either way, it was lovely to see them all grow up and go through it one last time. Especially my baby Will is now a really tall and lanky teen – when did this happen!? I might have cried during an episode …

The Hating Game

Disclaimer: I have not read the book!

I had so much fun watching this movie? I know there were changes and people weren’t happy. I also know that the male lead casting was questionable? I didn’t really feel a spark watching the trailer either, but they worked really well off of each other once you watch the entire movie. I think romances are often predictable and this didn’t exactly feel like an exception, but I was entertained throughout. Solid movie!


There’s currently not too many weekly shows that I’m following aside from The Wheel of Time and Hawkeye, which are both ending next week. Hence, I spared you my list of weekly shows. What did you think of my mini-reviews? What are you watching? Let’s chat!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #69

As I’ve been home a lot these past two weeks, I’ve really leaned into watching all the stuff I could get my hands on. I really wanted tot talk about those things, before they start to get to be too much. So, without further ado, here are the shows and movie I watched.

Nine Days

This movie forever changed me! There’s just no other way to put it, because I keep thinking about it all the time. I can see how many people won’t necessarily like the ending, but it made sense in its own way.

Once I got over the fact that half the main cast was also in Marvel movies, I was just surprised by how emotionally involved I was. It’s beautiful and sad and heartbreaking and magnificent. The continued use of the violin, which you can also hear in the trailer, is way more important than you might think and will tear at your heartstrings. I really can’t rave about it enough and remember just sobbing through large parts of it. I suppose, this is one of those movies you have to be in the right mood for, but it’s now among my top movies of the year!

Only Murders in the Building (Season 1)

I just recently mentioned this show in the last TMP post, but I’m just going to repeat myself. I was surprised how much I liked this show and am now really excited for another season! Of course, the cast always looked fun, but I didn’t expect how funny it would actually be and how many twists and turns they’d manage to add to the story. I found it to be way more unpredictable than I would have initially suspected.

Gentefied (Season 2)

The first season had some real tearjerker episodes, especially some that weren’t even pertaining to the main cast. I was fully prepared for this to hit the same way, but it just didn’t. I don’t know if it was because I already knew what to expect or because I used it more as a background show while painting, but I wasn’t as invested this time around. Sounds like a me problem either way. The season focused a lot on “illegal immigrants” on top of the family ties, which was well done. I enjoyed that they didn’t neglect to mention that cases with a lot of media attention sometimes have it easier and that there are so many more cases that get overlooked.

Saved by the Bell (Season 2)

This show is so ridiculous, but I keep enjoying it every single time I put it on. I’ve never watched Saved by the Bell while growing up (it just wasn’t a thing here and maybe I’m too young?), so it’s definitely not a nostalgia thing, but I sure keep having fun. That’s what matters most, right? I don’t know what more to say. The most random line will just have me laughing out loud, but they do have really personal moments too.

Selling Sunset (Season 4)

Okay, I usually don’t talk about reality shows much, but I binged the entire season in one go. I just couldn’t stop.

I don’t know if you know this, but Chrishell and Jason are dating now, but they didn’t yet in this season. However, the editing team sure loved to hint at it. There were so many cuts to Jason when Chrishell was talking and just showing him paying attention or wanting to help her or being downright jealous. When Simu Liu showed up, my worlds kind of collided, but the jealousy was so odd. I still can’t.

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 and mostly talk about finished seasons in the above section.

The Wheel of Time (Season 1) – I am OBSESSED with this show! I haven’t read the books and I kind of doubt I will (it’s 14 really massive volumes, not counting the prequels and novellas), but I’m so curious. One episode per week is just not enough to satisfy my need for more. I’m already sad to have learned that Barney Harris, who is playing Mat, got recast for S2. The entire Wheel of Time internet is wondering what happened.

The Sex Lives of College Girls (Season 1) – I may or may not have started this show because of Gavin Leatherwood, but I’m not mad at it at all. I weirdly find it less salacious than the title might suggest, but then again, I’d still not watch it with my parents.

Hawkeye (Season 1) – I’m reviewing this show episode by episode, so you can check out my thoughts on ep 1& 2 here.

Yellowjackets (Season 1) – It’s such a disturbing show, but I’m intrigued.

The Big Leap (Season 1) – Love this show. Nothing new.

Gossip Girl (Part 2/Season 1) – I think it says a lot about me that I’m most invested in the throuple storyline.

Dickinson (Season 3) – I can’t believe this is the final season. I’m kind of over the entire Sue thing and the war seems an odd focus for a finale, but alright.

Nancy Drew (Season 3) – My ship is about to sail! They both know they have feelings now, they just need to let each other know.

All American (Season 4) – This hasn’t been my season so far. I’m feeling really ambivalent.

Station 19 (Season 5) – I AM FUMING! I’m so mad at the show, I don’t even know how to express it. A certain character perished and I adored them and they literally got a job opportunity in another city, so I don’t understand why they had to die. This is one of the cruelest story arcs and trauma to add to that character that was just not necessary. They literally don’t know how to write out characters in a healthy way.

9-1-1 (Season 5) – This season hasn’t really grasped me as much as previous ones. I still love the relationships, but I haven’t felt as invested for some reason.


What have you been watching? Do you watch any of the same stuff as me? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #68

I’ve watched so much in a short amount of time that I decided to better do this sooner rather than later. It will likely be a lengthier post, so I won’t talk about the weekly shows I am currently watching, just because they aren’t that many and haven’t really changed anyway (The Big Leap and Nancy Drew are my bright spots of the week!). So, let’s get this started!

An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts (Season 1)

This was a really quick watch that I enjoyed far more than I initially thought I would. Basically this little hidden Italian gem of a show is based on a book, about 6 episodes for now and will hopefully (seriously, fingers crossed!) get renewed, because I need to know what happens next.

I’m not huge on astrology, but I like to have fun with it at times. I know my signs, but I honestly don’t take it very seriously. However, if you are very attached or protective of your star sign, beware that there is going to be some intense roasting of most signs (I think leos, which I am coincidentally one of, were the only ones getting off easy here). But the characters are really charming and will have you in a chokehold by the end of it. I’d sure like to have a Davide and a Tio in my life.

Locke & Key (Season 2)

I was semi-excited for the new season, but it was actually really good. Please do not read on if you haven’t watched the first season, because this is a spoiler, but Gabe was a great villain. The way he really seemed to have feelings for Kinsey made this so much more interesting to me. Generally, my takeaway from the show so far is that Dodge just wants to be a hot teen boy.

Anyway, the teens were still fools, the whole show is pretty far removed from the gory comics and targeted towards a younger audience, but it worked for me. This time around, they had to deal with the fact that they were growing older and that would mean they’d forget magic. It also dug deeper into the lore of the keys and set up an intriguing future season. I’d be here for more.

Another Life (Season 2)

I’m going to be real honest with you and tell you that I forgot pretty much everything that happened in season 1. It was a real struggle to get back into it, even though I remembered really being in love with the AI, William, so I wanted that feeling back.

In general, Another Life is quite brutal. Barely any crew members are safe and you really can’t get attached to anyone. Every season is “torture the AI” season, which I’m not a big fan of. Overall, it continued the story nicely though. I suppose I won’t be the only one struggling to remember everything that happened previously, but this felt like a good end. It could continue, but this season felt like an end to the show. At least it would be a neat one.

Stargirl (Season 2)

Last summer, I was so very invested in Stargirl and I had really hoped to feel the same way this time around, but the feeling never quite came back. Somehow, I felt a distance while watching the season and it could very well be because of them filming during the pandemic, but it also might have been, because they missed so many chances.

They set up super interesting characters (Green Lantern’s daughter, the Shade) and then barely used them or featured then at all for several episodes, all in favor of a villain that got super repetitive fast. I like the themes they dealt with this season and still adore the characters, but there was potential for some better plots. Still, they had some standout episodes and a really great finale. I’m excited for next season, which is titled “Frenemies”. It’s going to be so much fun!

Army of Thieves

To begin with, despite it being a prequel to Army of the Dead, this has nothing to do with zombies. They are barely even a B-plot, because this is squarely a heist movie. Having said that, I feel like the charm of the movie and the many references only work if you watched Army of the Dead first. In a way, I think it might even confirm some theories about the zombie movie in the final scene … but maybe I was projecting here.

Army of Thieves was very fun with a quirky cast of characters. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but Matthias Schweighöfer did a great job not only bringing a charming and fun backstory to his character, but also directing it.

The Harder They Fall

I was really excited for this movie, because it looked stunning, had an amazing cast and soundtrack and I had a whole plan about watching movies with black cowboys, but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how violent this movie was. I think my brain blocked out a lot of those gory scenes, because that’s not really what I’m about.

Aside from that, it has a lot of wit, humor and, again, amazing visuals. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but as someone who is not usually huge on westerns, I enjoyed this. (You can really thank the outstanding cast for that!)

Love Hard

Did this movie have cute moments? Yes, it totally did. Does that excuse the fact that we are in the year 2021 and they are still trying to make catfishing cute in dating movies? No, not one bit. I’m just so tired of the trope. We’ve established that it’s not okay, so don’t make a million more redemption movies, where we need to fall in love with the person by the end anyway.


There will be a separate post where I talk about Eternals, which I have watched a couple days ago. I want to make it a post with spoilers, so I’m targeting next Wednesday, hoping I’ll have sorted my thoughts by then. But what about this post? Did you watch any of the things I mentioned? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #67

We shall not speak about the dire state of my reading this month, but I’ve actually managed to watch quite a lot. I’m so happy to get to do these posts more again, even if it’s just a clear sign that I struggle to balance my reading and watching schedules with work. So what? Let’s talk shows and movies!

Midnight Mass (Limited Series)

I finally made it! Not going to lie, this is the Mike Flanagan show that took me by far the longest to get through. It’s not that it was bad – not at all – but it felt heavier and slower than the others, possibly because of the heavy religious focus. Over all, Flanagan did it again and managed to bring impeccable characters to our screens. He really is my exception when it comes to horror content, at least his shows are. I love that he tends to stick to cast members from previous projects and hope that trend will continue with the upcoming shows.

Overall, I was able to predict a lot of the underlying plot, but it had great emotional moments again. (Still like Bly Manor and Hill House more though.)

Pretty Smart (Season 1)

This is the kind of show, you want on a slow day in the background. It doesn’t require a lot of attention, it’s super over the top, so you’ll always get what it’s about and it’s a nice way to pass the time. I binged it in a day, because I didn’t feel like doing much and liked it a lot. It’s silly for sure, but I laughed so much during the pottery episode, I couldn’t remember the last time a show cracked me up like that. So, if you don’t mind ridiculousness, clichés and over the top acting, this is for you. Again, I’d recommend it as a bit of a background show?

YOU (Season 3)

I was so ready for this season and I watched it as quickly as work allowed me to. It’s strange how this story just goes on and on and they don’t get discovered, despite being really bad serial killers. I don’t want to give away too much of the season, but I think we all know the formula by now. There were a couple nice new characters, few surprises, but somehow this series just works. I do not, however, get how people still lust after Joe. I do not trust a man who hasn’t picked up a single book written after the 1950s. Sorry.

On Our Block (Season 4)

I’m glad they got a final season to wrap things up, but I wasn’t super impressed by the finale. I think there’s one character who would have just deserved better and I didn’t feel as emotionally impacted by their fate as I would have suspected, so that felt a bit like a let down. Either way, it tied up the loose ends, especially the confusion that reigned at the end of Season 3. I know they already have a spin-off planned, but I’m undecided on whether I will check it out.

Night Teeth

Do you like aesthetically pleasing, but campy vampire movies? This might just be for you! I think it definitely has some flaws. I will never understand why it was promoted with Megan Fox and Sydney Sweeney, who could not be more inconsequential for the movie if they tried, but lets not riff on it too much. There was some interesting lore there, which I wish they’d have dug deeper into, but they focused a lot on the more cutesy parts. Again, I think there was potential for it to be just a lot MORE, but I can also see them do a sequel … maybe. I’d watch it. It was really pretty and the characters I cared about were cute.

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 and mostly talk about finished seasons in the above section.

The Big Leap – This is the show I look forward to the most every single week! I can’t tell you how much I adore the characters and all the various dynamics. There’s so many ships, but not even just romantic stuff. I’m so here for it, while the back of my mind screams to not trust FOX.

Stargirl (Season 2) – I have my issues with this season, because the characters feel different. I’m so here for Beth’s emancipation, but they did not utilize this version of Green Lantern well. They just introduced her and then didn’t use her for episodes. There’s great moments in between (that Yolanda episode was everything), but I’m very tired of the big bad of the season. The Shade was an awesome addition though, while it lasted.

Nancy Drew (Season 3) – Still beyond happy to have the crew back, even if I’m always a couple days late to watch the episode.

9-1-1 (Season 5) – There were a couple emotional hooks in there already, but nothing too out there yet. At least for me. I miss Chimney.

Station 19 (Season 5) – Crisis One is such a great topic, not just because it gives my bae Dean Miller more screen time, but also because it is based on a real initiative in Seattle. I wish they’d communicate and promote that more in the credits or something.


What are you watching? Anything on here you’d like to or have watched too? I’m currently in the midst of the new season of Locke & Key, as well as some German RomCom movie marathons. 

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #66

Let me tell you, I’ve watched way more than you might think from the lack of posts on here. But, the problem is that I started a lot of things, but I finished embarrassingly few things. Still, I didn’t want to wait any longer, so we are going to talk about some shows and movies!

Ted Lasso (Season 2)

This show will never not have my whole heart. As many of my friends can confirm, I can write entire essays on the character work that has been done here, but I will refrain from making this too long. I just want to say that they managed an amazing sophomore season. It’s not easy to continue with a show, the vast majority of the world considers a feel-good-series and still give it meaningful and complex plotlines, but they managed it.

My heart was warmed and crushed alike. It definitely didn’t feel as light as last season, but it shed a beautiful light on various characters and gave more flesh to those usually on the sidelines. Everyone felt important, which was the reason that a lot of the betrayals felt so hard-hitting. The growth from most of the characters though – chef’s kiss.

This season heavily focused on mental health in athletics and in general, as well as themes of loss and abandonment. It’s definitely not all happy, but the balance was achieved in my eyes.

Sex Education (Season 3)

I liked the season, a lot. I wasn’t sure I would still be so invested, but I really was. I binged it pretty much in one go and also read Ace of Spades simultaneously, so the racism of certain characters/institutions really jumped out at times. Still, thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I now prefer Ruby and Otis to Maeve and Otis, which I was never really invested in anyway (let’s go Maeve and Amy!), but the storyline was continued quite beautifully.

There were a couple subplots I wasn’t 100% happy with. I expected more from Viv and Jackson’s friendship, but through the introduction of Cal, they added an amazing character that I wouldn’t want to miss from the season at all. Usually, I also really don’t like the whole “closeted gay/bi guy bullies gay kid, who later becomes his love interest and he gets a redemption arc”-thing, but they wrote Adam so well! Eric still remains one of my favorite characters and I love that he got more story of his own, while his friendship with Otis still shone through.

Towards the end, I got really emotional and I’m looking forward to more! 

Free Guy

This movie is just so much fun! I thought of it like a lighthearted mix of Tron and the Truman Show for some reason, but maybe that’s just me.

Where the movie could have easily drifted off into some existential crisis, Free Guy just remains entertaining with a heart. The cast was chosen so well and whereas a lot of the plot was predictable in the end, I don’t hold it against them. This movie was exactly the booster of goodness I needed. I can only recommend it!

No Time to Die

I am so very proud of all the people who managed to not spoil the whole world, despite having seen the movie. I, too, won’t go into detail, but just say that Phoebe Waller-Bridge did not disappoint and gave us a magnificent send off for Daniel Craig. It had callbacks to my favorites, such as Casino Royale, Skyfall and Spectre, while still remaining its own story.

This might have been one of the most emotionally gripping Bond movies so far, however, I do feel like the balance between action and deeper storyline was a bit off. Either it needed more action for the length it was, or they should have tightened it by about 30 minutes in terms of dialogue and exhibition. This is a minor complaint, because we still flew through the hours. Without saying too much, one of my favorite parts about the whole thing, next to the emotional main plot, was Ana de Armas. She was such a bright light and really fun addition.

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 and mostly talk about finished seasons in the above section.

The Big Leap – I’m obsessed with this show! I just love Gabby’s storyline, which is the one I am most invested in, but I really want to see where it can go. I have a strong feeling that they’ll cancel it, but it’s FOX. I lost faith in them a long time ago.

Stargirl (Season 2) – I love the horror vibes this season brings. It’s really gloomy and doomy right now, but I’m back to wanting to give it my full attention. It sure has me hooked.

Star Trek: Lower Decks (Season 2) – It’s such a silly show, but I love it. I don’t really get the weekly release for a show like this one, but I’m sticking with it.

Roswell, New Mexico (Season 3) – Does not have enough Maria in it, even if I did get a steamy make out with her and the love interest of my choice.

Nancy Drew (Season 3) – I have Drew’s Crew back, but most of all Ace. Let me tell you, people, he is my number 1 comfort character.

9-1-1 (Season 5) – I can see them struggling with trying to one up themselves with the tragedies and disasters each season, but it’s been a good couple of episodes so far. Even though the scenarios aren’t what I want to see necessarily, they do have emotional impact.

Station 19 (Season 5) – We all know I have a thing for firehouse shows, right?


What have you been watching? Let’s talk!

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 #64

I remember when I used to do these posts almost weekly, but here we are with them popping up maybe once or twice a month. I guess a lot of my time has been diverted to reading, so I can get my challenges and experiments done in time. I don’t regret spending my time differently, but I do miss binging all day sometimes. Still, I have a decent amount of things to talk about again!

The White Lotus (Season 1)

The show makes you feel uncomfortable, but simultaneously keeps you interested in a way only an HBO show can. We’ve all met these sort of entitled, troubled, lost people before and some of us might even be able to find part of ourselves in them. I’m so very glad I don’t work in a hotel anymore, although that part, too, was relatable. It’s not exactly laugh out loud funny, but it’s definitely top notch dark humor.

You may think you know where this show is headed, but there’s some really good, partly grotesque turns along the way. All the actors did such an amazing job, but that ending … it’s not going to be for everyone.

CODA

This might be one of, if not my absolute, favorite movie of the year!

CODA, meaning Child Of Deaf Adults, is a movie about family in the most beautiful way. Ruby is the only hearing person in her family and that comes with many responsibilities. However, her true passion is singing, something none of her loved ones can quite comprehend. And so, a tale of self-discovery, love and obligation and letting go ensues.

I seriously cried my way through the final scenes, because I was so touched by the whole story. It was beautiful to have deaf representation that showed the struggle on both point of views and didn’t put any blame or take a side in the process. I can only highly recommend this movie! Please, go watch it!

The below music/lyric video is amazing, but does contain some spoilers in case you want to avoid them.

Resort to Love

Resort to Love is the kind of cheesy romance movie I like. It’s predictable, sweet and like a warm hug in most cases. After Falling Inn Love, I also knew that Netflix had a plan for Christina Milan and I’m here for it. I know that these kind of movies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like that kind of stuff, it’s definitely worth a watch.

The Kissing Booth 3

I’M SO GLAD THIS MOVIE FRANCHISE IS FINALLY DONE!

I don’t really know why I did this to myself, but it was kind of fun to make fun of the first movie. Then I sort of stumbled into the second and finally, I felt like I couldn’t pass up on the last part of it. In the beginning, I didn’t hate it, but by the end of it, I really couldn’t stand it anymore? Most of these characters were unreasonably rich, immature and co-dependant. It was just difficult for me to root for anyone. Also, there was absolutely no need for this movie to be two hours long.

Shows I Watch Weekly

Last time, I talked about a bunch of shows I watch on a weekly basis and since that worked well for me, I’m going to continue doing it!

Roswell, New Mexico (Season 3) – So far, I like the season better than the last one, although it still doesn’t reel me in as much as the first one did. I can’t explain why at all, but there are definitely still aspects I love. I always look forward to every single scene with Maria and I’m kind of intrigued by the blossoming Rosa/Wyatt relationship. Undecided on whether I’m for it, but I’m definitely interested in seeing more.

Ted Lasso (Season 2) – Ted Lasso giving its characters more room to develop without pitting them all against each other is beautiful to watch. I feel there’s still something the season is building up to, a big blow up of some sort, and I’m not ready for it.

Animal Kingdom (Season 5) – As suspected, I prefer binging it rather than tuning in weekly. It’s been dragging a bit for me.

Stargirl (Season 2) – I’m really happy the show is back! So far, my obsession hasn’t reached the same height as last summer, but seeing these characters on a regular basis again warms my heart.

Gossip Girl (mid-season finale) – I’m so over Obie and his indecisiveness. Also, there’s no way he and his mother are German. I’m going to headcanon them as Belgian now.

Superman & Lois (Season 1 finale) – Sad and excited at the same time that we ended on the cliffhanger we ended on. I’m really looking forward to more here.

Schmigadoon (Season 1 finale) – As someone who is not a big fan of musicals, this show was alright. I did expect more from the finale though.


What have you been watching lately? Do you plan on checking out or have maybe already watched some of the things above?

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #63

I thought it would be nice to do one more of these posts before the end of the month. I thought I haven’t been watching very much, but in reality, I’ve just not been able to binge a lot. So, at the end of this post, you’ll find shows that I’m currently watching as they release weekly, in case you want to talk about any of those. I’ll keep my thoughts in the post to a brief sentence, but feel free to go more in depth in a discussion! I’m always down for TV talk!

Outer Banks (Season 2)

I was so very pumped to get this show back, because it was my absolute obsession last summer. I like the way it mixes The OC with what feels like the Goonies and has some really well rounded characters in it. Returning to that world now, I didn’t vibe as much with the show as I did last time.

Kiara used to be my favorite character alongside JJ, but they made some very odd choices for her storyline. While there were some unrealistic scenarios before, I couldn’t help but get annoyed or frustrated with certain character changes and choices this time around. Some problems literally would have been non-existent if people could just control their temper (and I’m not talking about the bad guys here), but most of all, I’m surprised that these kids aren’t dead. As much as I want them all safe and sound, I can’t wrap my head around some of them still being alive. It just … didn’t make sense.

But now on to the things I liked. I’m so glad that Pope got a bigger spotlight this season, because I felt like he was a bit forgotten in Season 1. We start to dive into his family more and ultimately manage to continue the treasure hunt element in a way that ties it neatly to previous events and gives us plenty of material for the future. JJ remains a favorite, just because he is super messy and funny and I want to give him a hug. Also, we get a new character that I adore – Cleo! They really did us all a favor by introducing her.

The last thing I want to say is, it very much feels like they are trying to set everyone up as a couple now, all the pairs ready to go. As much as I shipped Kiara and JJ last time and can see them wanting to put Cleo and Pope together, I kind of understand all the people shipping JJ and Pope, Kiara with John B or Sarah and Cleo. Not gonna lie, in that group, almost any pairing makes sense. I hope they won’t shy away from including something a little less … heteronormative.

Never Have I Ever (Season 2)

I had fun with the season, although I have to say that the secondhand embarrassment and cringe sometimes becomes a bit much for me. Where Season 1 had a tendency to go deeper on Ben rather than Paxton, this season switched things around and focused on Paxton instead. It’s really hard to choose a team (although I still think I might favor Ben?), but in the end, I like seeing Devi develop outside of the boys as well. Her family dynamic is always so interesting to me and I like that she doesn’t always have her emotions in check. I hope they can elaborate on these aspects without having to introduce new characters each season.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (Season 2)

Again, I wasn’t vibing with this season as much as the last, but I enjoyed some different characters getting their due spotlight and especially for Courtney and Carlos getting to sing. My favorite in all of this, however, remains Gina. I love her character and I just want happiness for her. I’m so over the whole Rini drama, it’s the least fun part of the entire show. Ashley and Big Red are a way superior couple, if we have to focus on those …

The Last Letter From Your Lover

When I starte the movie, the aesthetic and split timeline gave me huge W./E. vibes (a film directed by Madonna), which is a plus in my eyes. In the end, it was a lovely movie with very few surprises. I think you pretty much get what you expect and that’s not a bad thing. I would say that it didn’t need a run time of almost two hours, but the visuals were very nice. I was definitely drawn to it by the cast and they all delivered what I wanted from them. I don’t think it will be a story that necessarily lingers in your mind very long, but it’s sweet and hopeful and romantic (if you can tune out all the cheating).

Shows I Watch Weekly

Gossip Girl (Reboot) – I’m really enjoying myself with this one, even though I cannot stand the teachers at all. As for actual teen characters, I need a little bit more development from a lot of them, but it all feels very promising.

Roswell, New Mexico (Season 3) – Last year, I declared Maria and Gregory as my crackship AND THEY ARE MAKING IT INTO A REAL SHIP. (I’d like to think that me campaigning for them as a couple was partially responsible for that new storyline.)

Schmigadoon – It’s a musical. It’s a relationship drama. It’s hilarious and unexpected.

Ted Lasso (Season 2) – Did not expect Ted to have such a hard time with the idea of therapy, but just happy to have my comfort show back!

Superman & Lois – I haven’t talked about the show much, but I kind of love it? The fact that this is so much about family and less about the superhero business makes it really endearing to me. Also, the twins (especially Jonathan) are great.

Animal Kingdom (Season 5) – Eh, I always enjoy this one more when I binge it rather than watching it weekly, but we’ll see how long I stick with it this time around.

Good Trouble (Season 3) – I’m so sorry to say that I mostly watch for Davia, because there’s so many great and important storylines, but … I do.

A bunch of reality TV – I need something that doesn’t require my brain to actively work, so I frequently tune in to Love Island (UK), The Hills: New Beginnings, Siesta Key …


What are your thoughts? Do we watch some of the same stuff? Let’s talk!