What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #54

It’s not been two weeks yet, but I still wanted to talk about a couple things I watched, because I didn’t want the list to get too long. It’s also a decent mix of shows and movies at the moment, so I gotta seize that opportunity to hopefully create a well rounded post!

Lupin (Part 1)

I’ve always been a fan of Omar Sy and not just because of the Intouchables or whatever it was called in English, but because he is a fantastic actor. Seeing him as the lead in this gentleman-thief-esque story had me so excited and the show did not disappoint. Everyone I know enjoyed this and even though I warned my parents about the massive cliffhanger, they binged it too. Well, at least we can all be happy to know that the next part in the series is coming this summer already! (I have a sneaking suspicion that they filmed more and then split it up)

Please, do yourself the service of watching it in French with subtitles. I know dubbed versions exists, but the voices are just so much better in the original.

For fans of: Omar Sy, international Netflix content, heists, thieves, revenge stories

Equinox (Season 1)

When I first saw the trailer of Equinox, it felt like a Danish Dark in a way and … that is a fairly accurate description of the show, just adding more of a mythology aspect to it. I should probably mention that this is based on a Danish podcast “Equinox 1985”, which was super popular and sounded like a true crime podcast, but was actually fiction. I’d be interested to see more podcasts turned into shows.
At times a bit too slow for my taste (and I usually like slow, but if I can skip 30 minutes and not miss a thing … eh, time to overthink that scene), it still had me interested in its mystery.

I know I shouldn’t compare it to Dark so much (and it’s not Dark and nothing will be as good as Dark, but yeah, here we are anyway), but it had that same generation-spanning, “who is behind this?” and time-warpy feeling. I also didn’t like any of the characters really, which much reminds me of the beginning of Dark too, but it was still such an interesting ride. You get some, but not all the answers in Season 1. To me, it felt like it could be a limited series and end there with some things in the air, but I think they might continue the show. (nothing is renewed yet)

For fans of: international Netflix content, Dark, the OG podcast?

Onward

I was unsure because some of the voice-actor-casting, but eventually, I just wanted another emotional animated movie and I really liked it. I enjoy when stories focus on family and grief, as you probably know if you have been a long-time reader of this blog. I thought that especially the brother-relationship was done so well and I ended up crying. As I often always do with Pixar movies. This is definitely one for the whole family!

For fans of: movies about family and magic

To All the Boys 3: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Okay, so … I wasn’t sure if I should read the book before or after the movie. I have done it both ways already and I always liked the thing that I read/watched first better, which is also the case here with me having read Always and Forever before watching it. I liked some of the improvements in the movie, like Margot not completely hating Mrs. Rothschild and the Lara Jean and Gen growth was magnificent, but there were also some bits and pieces I really missed.

I thought the dad-storyline with Peter felt rushed and his mother never even appeared in this one at all. She was kind of elemental in some ways. I also did not grasp why Chris dated Trevor? I will never object to having Ross Butler on my screen for however little time, but I did not feel their point exactly. The family issues on the Covey-Song front just fell a bit short for me as well, although they attempted to include parts of it.

In general, I believe that choosing between what’s right for your own future and wanting to be with someone is a decent premise. It’s also a bittersweet and cutesy ending to this series. I still believe that the first one was the best movie though and I whole-heartedly believe it’s because it was directed by a woman and like in so many other cases, the sequels were directed by men who definitely let Peter shine more than Lara Jean (this is more of a dig towards movie 2 than 3 …).

For fans of: the previous movies, the cast, the books, cutesy romcoms

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

My brain tells me that this was an average movie, but my heart really really loved it. Much alike to Palm Springs, this feels like a not-so-tired version of the groundhog-day-scenario, just targeted at teens.

I thought that the casting was really charming, it never felt too long for me and had a way that made you cherish the small things as well as some deeper things in life. Maybe the logic doesn’t work out entirely (because … is that really how it all started?), but it still feels sweet and warm and sad. I cried, but not ugly-cried, so this was a good kind of sad.

For fans of: Palm Springs but make it teen, groundhog-day-scenarios


Did you watch any of these as well? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #53

I think at this point, I hardly have to explain what is going on in these kind of posts. I’m just going to tell you a bit about all the different stuff I have watched and we can discuss them in more detail in the comments below!

Firefly Lane (Season 1)

I wasn’t super eager to watch this show, but then the automatic preview kept showing up on my Netflix account and I caved. I tore through it in about 1-2 days and don’t think it’s a necessary watch. Much like Sweet Magnolias (which was also adapted from books), it is centered around female friendship, however, with a very co-dependent note to it. It’s also a show that takes you on a nostalgic trips through the decades, starting in the 60s and spanning all the way to the early 2000s.

The thing is, the “present” POV takes place in 2003 and this show truly feels like something in that was made in 2003. I don’t really buy it when they pretend Heigl and Chalke are in their 20s just because they changed their hairstyle and topics such as sexual harassment at the workplace and journalistic integrity have been done better in different shows (e.g. The Morning Show) as well. But still, Firefly Lane has its moments and manages to capture you emotionally every now and then.

I especially found myself in Kate, which is eerie considering how similar our names are on top of everything. I did not understand how she ended up with who she ended up with until the very last episodes, but now I am invested. And Tully, that woman has to go through all the bad things that can happen to a person, it’s grueling. In the end, I did care about them, but it still wasn’t really a must-watch. I was just mad that they did not reveal what big bad thing happened that finally broke the friendship (and it is rumoured they might not go with what happened in the books should they get another season).

For fans of: Katherine Heigl, Sarah Chalke, book to screen adaptations

Star Trek: Below Decks (Season 1)

I am not a Trekkie and just a really casual viewer of the more recent Star Trek movies. I am also not a huge enthusiast for adult animated shows? I do watch them, but not a lot. And still, I really had fun with this show. I don’t know how well it fits into the universe and it’s definitely more on the silly side, but I was really entertained! That’s the most important thing to me.

For fans of: animated Star Trek?

Bonding (Season 2)

I enjoyed the first season, but literally know nothing about the dom community. Apparently, they had quite the quarrels with the first season though and the writers of season 2 made sure to address the concerns. It’s such a fast-paced show and I am really more here for the relationships than anything else. I don’t even know who is really in the right in that final fight.

For fans of: BDSM, relationships that aren’t just romantic

Yellowstone (Season 1-3)

I actually watched S1 a couple years back, but forgot so much that I had to rewatch it. If you are into slow-paced shows with a good production value and a fantastic cast, this might be for you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s brutal and violent in part and that is not for everyone, but it is also so amazingly complex. Family relationships like that always catch my eye and I like watching their dynamic, even if it’s tough to find anyone likable in this mess. It’s still such an underrated show and I am nervous about who will actually return for season 4.

For fans of: cowboys, family dynasties

Finding ‘Ohana

I love the Goonies. It’s one of my most favourite childhood movies and Finding ‘Ohana is the most Goonies thing since the Goonies, just set in Hawai’i and with Hawaiian myths included. It was funny and sweet and tugged at your heartstrings with the family vibes. And seriously, no other movie can pull off Meghan Trainor’s “All the Way” in the midst of a dangerous life or death situation!

For fans of: Goonies, adventures with kids


Did you watch any of these shows/movies? Would you like to? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #50

So, here it is, my last update on what I’ve been watching in the year of 2020. I really tried to pack in as much as possible, but some things just didn’t fit in (e.g. I only made it halfway through the final season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina so far). Now, I honestly have to say that I am rethinking this format a little bit. I’ll likely always watch as much, but to continue the numbering will be … interesting, as we are so high by now. I am open for title suggestions!

Bridgerton (Season 1)

Bridgerton is based on a book that I have not read and cannot make a comparison to, but I enjoyed my binge of the show very much. It’s not without fault and I can see certain moments being problematic even, but this is basically Gossip Girl during regency times. (I hope we all know that the people in GG were not it)
I liked that they changed history and did not mean to completely portray the reality from back then. Instead they put people of color in ruling positions and honestly, why not? Also, I thought it was funny that the showrunners called this season “the education of Daphne Bridgerton”, because she really does have her sexual awakening. Be aware of many sex scenes!

For fans of: Gossip Girl in regency times

Hilda (Season 2)

I don’t often talk about animated shows, so, I just wanted to make sure that I include the ones I actually really enjoy. I like the Scandinavian vibes of Hilda and how it explores family and friendship packed into fun magical adventures. Simple as that.

For fans of: cute animation

We Can Be Heroes

This is not a serious recommendation or anything. I haven’t even seen Lavagirl and Sharkboy in full, so I am not even a fan of that movie to justify watching the sequel, but Pedro Pascal. As a dad. That’s my weakness.
Maybe, if I was a kid, I would have enjoyed it more, but it’s tacky and over the top and not exactly acted very well. I can’t blame them, cause they are kids and that is totally okay. It had fun bits. But it was also ridiculous.

For fans of: Lavagirl and Sharkboy, Pedro Pascal as a dad

Wonder Woman 1984

I wanted to like this so much, but I only found it mediocre. The thing is, there’s no way the movie had to be two and a half hours long. It also felt tonally different in the first and the second half and I much preferred the first.
It’s hard to explain, because I understood the motives of the villains. I completely got the point of the sacrifices that were made. I definitely think I comprehended the message they were trying to convey, but … I just didn’t buy it. While Diana had some great and frankly emotional scenes, I also just didn’t buy into others. Some things were resolved too quickly, others left in the air. I don’t know if I just expected too much.

For fans of: Wonder Woman, Pedro Pascal as a dad

The Midnight Sky

This movie did not need to be more than two hours long. Aside from the storyline seeming very familiar to anyone who has watched any movies set in space as of late, there was just a legit 10 minutes of the crew repairing a ship. I do not need to see that for such a long time and it might have felt more dynamic and engaging with a different cut. On top of the predictability and length, it was just very choppy, with three different storylines finding their way together. The “solution” to their problem didn’t even make sense to me in the end. There’s no way I would recommend this as a worthwhile watch.

For fans of: space movies, slow pace, George Clooney as director and actor

Sylvie’s Love

Jazz enthusiast will surely love the soundtrack of this movie. It was beautiful and warm and such a nice watch. Obviously, the cast is top notch. The styles incorporated fit the decades depicted so well and all the costumes are to die for.
It has an “old Hollywood” kind of vibe, but with a black cast that might not have been able to see themselves in a sincere love drama like this back in the day. I fully support this revival of something that felt a bit old-fashioned, but I also have to say that it had its lengths. While I am sure people will fall under the spell of the impeccable mood depicted, the story stilted sometimes and some moments felt too planned and/or convenient for the narrative.

For fans of: anyone on the cast, jazz, music, sweet love stories that span decades

Soul

Soul is just a really lovely, inspirational movie. All criticism, especially that black characters either get turned into animals or blobs for the majority of movies, is completely valid, but I also enjoyed myself so very much. The music was fantastic, everything was jazz-infused. I loved the animation style that made so many objects and lighting situations feel so realistic. I really don’t know what else to say other than this was a work of art and is definitely worth the watch.

For fans of: lovely heartfelt animation movies, Pixar


Have you watched any of the show or movies above? Do you plan to? What are some of the last things you binged in 2020?

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #49

As mentioned already, at least I think I’ve said it before, I now have designated binge-days on Friday where I really tear into new releases and then finish them over the weekend. That way, I feel super up to date and can share my thoughts on a lot of things with you in a quick fashion. If you ever want more detailed reviews again, please let me know! I just figure that these short mini-reviews get more done, but maybe you’d want to know more!

The Wilds (Season 1)

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, because I really don’t want to spoil anything for you. Suffice to say, this show is very character-driven and what brilliant characters they are. Maybe you won’t always like everyone right away, but they are complex and authentic and will inevitably grow on you.

There’s a couple good “WTF!?” moments, even if I found some of the twists and turns predictable because I watched too much similar content. It’s all very twisted and disturbing and deals with heavy subject matters such as mental health, predatory relationships, body image issues, adultification and judgment of gay relationships. Add to that that they are teen girls stranded on remote islands and I think the potential for conflict is clear.

For fans of: Lost, the Maze Runner but with girls, female-centric plots

Tiny Pretty Things (Season 1)

I have not read the book this is based on and cannot tell you if it is a faithful adaptation. I saw a lot of people in the book community excited, so I’d like to think it’s close to the source material, but I also saw that names of main characters were changed, so … I don’t know.

The promotion for this show was very misleading. It made it look like Neveah would be the lead character, therefore having a focus on a black ballerina, which would have been cool but is not actually the case. However, in reality, Tiny Pretty Things is very much an ensemble show and Neveah’s character gets sidelined a lot. I thought it was important to mention that.

Having said that, I watched Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker (a brilliant short documentary about Debbie Allen’s dance academy) before this show and it introduced Kylie Jefferson, who plays Neveah, to me ahead of time. I grew quite attached to her and didn’t mind that the acting wasn’t always top notch. This show hired dancers rather than actors and sometimes that’s quite obvious, but the dance scenes are all the better for it.

I am not going to say that it’s the best show out there, but I did enjoy myself. The relationships kept changing and I really enjoyed a certain bromance and some ships, despite the ones I wanted to happen not happening.

For fans of: Black Swan, Flesh and Bone, Center Stage, ballet, the book this is based on

The Mess You Leave Behind (Season 1)

Not gonna lie, I started this show solely because of Aron Piper, who you might know from another Spanish hit Netflix show – Elite. The Mess You Leave Behind also deals with the unraveling of the death of someone in a tight-knit community and an “outsider” coming in and figuring things out. However, this is the more “adult” version of Elite I suppose. Anyway, Aron can play the biggest douchebag and I’d still enjoy his face on my screen.

The Mess You Leave Behind seemed like a limited series to me and I don’t think I would need/necessarily want another season. The characters were sometimes hard to root for, but eventually they do grow on you. Although, I still don’t agree with a lot of stuff that happened, it was an aesthetically pleasing show.

For fans of: Spanish Netflix content, Aron Piper?, thrillers, mental health examination

Home for Christmas (Season 2)

I love this show! The main character, Johanne, is so messy, but you simply want her to be happy and find that person she is looking for. Episodes are very short, so, you kind of blink and the new season is over again, but it still leaves you with a happy feeling. This time around, there is no cruel cliffhanger, but instead you see her ending up with someone you might not have necessarily guessed in the first season. I adored the ending and would love maybe one more season to see them make it work.

For fans of: Norwegian Netflix productions, messy adult love life

The Mandalorian (Season 2)

This season was so good!

The Mandalorian has quickly proven to be far better than the sequel trilogy and restored a lot of people’s faith into the Star Wars franchise, including myself. They weave characters from the past into the storyline so effortlessly and brilliantly, it’s just a joy to watch. You never cease to get that giddy feeling when a familiar face pops up and they don’t mess up the integration of the character. I am genuinely happy we will get more seasons of this.

For fans of: Star Wars?

Safety

You know that I have a thing for sports stories, American Football alongside Baseball and Ice Hockey in particular, so this movie would have been interesting to me anyway. The fact that Hunter Sansone, from Stargirl, had a role in this as well and kept promoting it a lot and me being happy that he was getting more roles had me downright pumped.

Safety was such a nice movie! In true Disney fashion, it does not get as dark as the real life circumstances probably were and yes, this is based on someone’s life and I am sure it wasn’t always easy. But it had you invested and rooting for everyone to be successful despite ridiculous rules. Definitely sweet and inspiring, something for the whole family. 

For fans of: inspiring sports movies, tight family, found family trope


Did you watch any of these programs as well? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #48

I really watched all over the place in these past days, but seemed to have especially found some kind of nostalgic streak with reboots and the era things were set in. Let’s check it all out!

The Hardy Boys (Season 1)

I have never read a Hardy Boys book (or Nancy Drew book for that matter) in my whole life. When I asked my parents, neither of them had every even heard of them. I do know they mean a lot to people, but my country just did not have them and focused on local groups of book-kid-detectives instead. I’m telling you all this so you know that I have no nostalgia for the books (or even previous TV shows/movies) when it comes to the Hardy Boys. I just like watching them the way I like watching Nancy Drew adaptations.

When I first saw the trailer, I expected this to be hulu’s response to CW’s Nancy Drew, which I like very much despite it being far more supernatural than I expected. It has a darker look, but The Hardy Boys are still squarely set in the 80s. I think it’s funny how you really need to take a hard look these days, because so many shows have established an 80s/90s aesthetic without being set in that decade. I like those vibes coming back, but I was also intrigued by it actually being set at the time.

I really enjoyed myself throughout the entire season even if I wasn’t exactly surprised by any of the twists. It is nicely paced and I was really impressed by the acting even from the younger cast. I think they would do well in continuing this show!

For fans of: The Hardy Boys nostalgia

Saved by the Bell (Reboot – Season 1)

Just like above, I have never watched a Saved by the Bell episode in my life. I went into this out of boredom and then watched the entire season in one sitting. I have to say, and again, I have no reference point for comparison, this show is A LOT. Like, if you want authentic teens, this is not it. It’s so overacted and weird sometimes, but after a while these characters grow on you anyway. I can’t give it any points for nostalgia due to obvious reasons, but I had fun.

For fans of: Saved by the Bell???

Fierce

This is a movie made in Poland about a girl whose father is a big time musician and never wanted to have anything to do with her, so, she makes it onto the music competition show he is a judge on as a sort of revenge? The plot says it all? Kinda?

I think this wasn’t the best possible iteration of a story we’ve all seen in some shape or form before, but I liked it well enough. It was a good vied on fame and sticking to your true self, even though it got VERY dramatic sometimes.

On a side note, I know the English dubbing is bad … I watched it with German dubbing, which was better. But I’d also recommend just checking out the subtitles?

For fans of: music competition shows + family drama

Godmothered

Do you remember the movie Enchanted? This totally gave me similar vibes. We have a character from an actual magic world placed in our much harsher reality, but instead of them needing to find true love, they want to help others. And that, does not look the typical fairytale way, so don’t worry about it being too cliché.

It’s a really heartwarming and funny tale, one that works for the whole family. Maybe the humour won’t always hit home 100%, but I think in general it’s a sweet movie and even very fitting for the Christmas time! I definitely came out of it utterly enchanted.

For fans of: sweet fairytale style fun that’s for the whole family

Uncle Frank

This movie. I loved it so freaking much!

Don’t get me wrong, you need to go into it with the right mindset and be prepared for the trauma involved, because this is both a happy and incredibly sad coming out story at the same time. From the trailer and premise it does not look as deeply sad as it is sometimes, but then again, it also does have these amazing moments of humour.

This movie is so many things. I don’t know how it could have been so simple at it’s core, yet also so smart and complex. But I just hope everyone has an Uncle Frank in their lives to open their eyes, but even more so, I hope that everyone meets a Wally and lets them into their hearts! Also, this was a deeply personal movie for Alan Ball and it’s worth it checking out why he made the movie.

For fans of: coming out stories, family centric stories


Have you watched any of these shows or movies? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #43

I’ve watched astonishingly little these past weeks. Maybe it had to do with me finally getting my laptop to work again and falling into a rabbit hole of playing Sims, or I just wasn’t in the mood. Either way, I got a couple movies in, so, let’s talk about all that.

Dickinson (Season 1)

While I always liked the trailer, I never felt very compelled to actually watch it. I knew of Emily Dickinson, but only barely so and just had no connection to her lifestory or anything of that kind. However, once I started, I could not stop watching!

I can see a lot of people not being huge fans of the anachronistic language, music and so on, but that’s what I found so enticing. Whenever popular music from our decade (or even the last year) started playing, I just vibed with the scene even more. I didn’t even mind the twerking in the huge dresses. And the use of language was just hilarious, with several nods to how ridiculous life was back then sometimes.

The cast did not disappoint either, but it’s what I expected with some of the names on the list. All around, I really enjoyed the whole season and am looking forward to Season 2, which will start airing early January 2021. On a side note though, I would have just watched a show where a girl plucked out of history was dating death. Legit love that as a premise, even if it’s not this show.

For fans of: anachronistic historic content

Can You Keep a Secret?

When I was younger (say around 15?), I had a huge Sophie Kinsella phase and Can You Keep a Secret? was my favourite. I’m now more than a decade older and remembered scarely anything from that book, but was still pleasantly surprised to see it being made into a movie with Alexandra Daddario and Tyler Hoechlin as the leads – so here for those two!

To keep it short, the movie is ridiculous! You will cringe and secondhand embarrassment is also no stranger to the viewers, but it was alright and I laughed quite a bit too. Not the best current romcom out there, but definitely a fun little something.

For fans of: Kinsella’s book, ridiculous romance movies

Secret Society of Second Born Royals

I think I am too old for these movies now? When did Skylar Astin become the dad-/mentor-figure … WHEN!? But anyway, aside from that shocking part, I just found the whole movie very predictable. I don’t understand why every Disney production has to have at least one musical number in it and why everything has to look so fake when it comes to the CGI … so, in conclusion, I am just not the target audience of this anymore. Children out there could probably still enjoy this a whole lot.

For fans of: typical Disney-esque movies with Disney-esque faces

Chemical Hearts

First off, I have not read the book, therefore I have no way of comparing the two and will leave that to other people. I don’t think Chemical Hearts is a bad movie, it’s just … not a very engaging movie either? For long stretches of times, nothing happens. Teens are being their dramatic selves (as they should be! Lord knows I was dramatic af when I was a teen) and emotions are running high all the time. But the director also tried to bring a certain aesthetic to the movie, make it look artsier than the subject matter ist.

I know there is a message about grief and friendship and love in there somewhere, but I felt bored.

For fans of: angsty dramatic teens but with artsy vibes

The Babysitter/The Babysitter: Killer Queen

I don’t do horror. I don’t know how often I’ve said that before and then just do a 180 and watch spooky/scary stuff anyway. The more familiar faces in it, the more I can detach this from becoming scary in reality (cause I really do not enjoy being scared) and this cast seemed to offer me a good enough attempt at watching horror again. It wasn’t the worst?

As per usual, I did not care for the violence and the gore, legit skipped those parts, but other than that, it was actually decent fun? It was also dumb in a lot of parts, but I watched both movies back to back at night and didn’t get nightmares, so I am cool. Also, I really, really appreciate that they got the ENTIRE cast from the first movie for the sequel. That’s not always the case.

For fans of: horror comedy with still quite a lot of violence

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