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 #52

Looks like I have fallen into a bi-weekly rhythm of updating you on my viewing habits! I think that usually gives me a nice amount of time to catch up on some new (and old) releases, so, I hope you enjoy this as a probably established schedule now. Here we go!

Fate: The Winx Saga (Season 1)

Okay, where to start?

If you are a fan of the original animated Winx series or the comics … this ain’t it? Even if I disregard the casting choices and the erasure of certain characters of color or with a diverse background, it just doesn’t say Winx to me. Neither in cinematography, nor the pacing, nor anything else. They just took some names and abilities and made something different in my opinion, which is okay, but the Winx-connection makes it weird.

I watched the whole thing in a day, so there must be something not horrible about it, but a lot of the characters (*cough* Riven *cough*) made me cringe so hard with their more than problematic statements. It’s not … great? But I did end up really enjoying their take on Musa as well as the new addition Terra, Sam and Silva. 

If you feel like giving it a go, sure, why not? Just lower your expectations considerably.

For fans of: drama-filled teen fairy stories

Sanditon (Season 1)

I fully understand why this was recommended to people who enjoyed Bridgerton, as it’s very much in the line of Daphne and the Duke’s love story in part.

For those of you who don’t know, Sanditon was Jane Austen’s final novel, which she never got to complete herself. She gifted it to her niece, who also didn’t finish it, but it eventually did get an end. The itv series decided to do their take on the material and I thought they did a great job. Some characters were insufferable, but the main love triangle was interesting to me, because I could see the woman end up with either one of them. (We shall not speak of the other love-hexagons that were just iffy in part) I was so invested in the fates of everyone, I felt genuinely sad whenever a new problem arose.

Since this is not a mini-series, but something that is designed to go on for a couple seasons, I am so very happy that the fans of the show rallied in support and got it another season. It completely flew under my radar before that.

For fans of: Jane Austen, Bridgerton, Poldark maybe, regency romances

Cobra Kai (Season 1-3)

Why has it taken me so long to watch this show? I do not know. For one, I don’t really consider myself the target group for it. I literally have no recollection of ever watching Karate Kid (any version of it) and I only really associate it with HIMYM for some reason. However, I do understand the hype around it.

But, and this is really a very me thing, while I did enjoy it, I think I didn’t take away what you were supposed to. All I could feel for the majority of the three seasons was sadness. I would not want my kid in any of the dojos, because people repeatedly kept ending up in the hospital and juvenile detention/prison. For many characters, karate was their saving grace. It gave them confidence, purpose and something to believe in, but I was just so pissed at the adults most of the time. They had these kids look up to them and believe their every word and what did they do with that? Fight. Some of them are actual psychos and I don’t understand the point of their “war”. What is the end of it? Someone literally dying??

So, while the show does have some emotional moments, I think it’s mostly supposed to be fun? And I do love some of the characters, but … yeah. I was mad a lot.

For fans of: Karate Kid

Disenchantment (Part 3)

Not gonna lie, I was massively bored this season. Except for one big reveal, which I won’t spoil, I feel like we barely moved anything along and Richard Ayoade voicing a character was its saving grace for me. In general, Disenchantment is a show I tend to just let run in the background rather than pay a lot of attention to, but this time I didn’t even feel bad for doing that …

For fans of: animated stuff but for adults and make it magic?

Promising Young Woman

This movie was everything I had hoped it to be!

The mix of sugary-sweet cinematography with a very jarring look at our grueling society that favors promising young men over the fate of women over and over was *chef’s kiss*. Carey Mulligan shines as Cassie and will always keep you in suspense about what she might do next. The entire movie makes so much sense, hits hard in many, many moments, but also surprises you constantly. The casting of actors who formerly played absolute sweethearts and lovable characters as the douchebags and predators was another a stroke of genius. Also, top notch soundtrack!

I don’t even want to tell you too much about it, because it’s best to just experience it for yourself.

Side note: I don’t think any other movie could have managed to bring back Paris Hilton’s “Stars are Blind” the way Promising Young Woman did.

For fans of: empowered women, social issues such as rape culture, anyone from the cast


Lastly, I wanted to include something new. The shows I mentioned above are all ones that I have watched the entire seasons of, as I otherwise loose track of what I have “reviewed” or talked about already, but for the first time in a long time, network TV shows are back on the weekly. So, here is my viewing schedule and you are always free to talk to me about anything on here and can expect me to be up to date on the program. (Also, have watched the pilot of Walker, but it’s not listed)


Did you watch any of the shows or movies mentioned? Do you plan 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 #47

Since I’ve had more time again, I’ve spent it in front of screens a lot. Aside from tearing through some MasterClasses, I binged a couple shows and movies, which I’m now, once again, going to share with you!

Grand Army (Season 1)

TW: sexual assault, adultification, terrorism, racial profiling, racial injustice

I feel like Grand Army is Netflix’ response to HBO’s Euphoria. We follow a group of teens through a rough time in High School with the portrayal being relatable and closer to reality than some of the glossier shows airing these days. I understand when people say they don’t just want a copy of Euphoria, but, as someone who struggled a lot with that show a lot, I actually preferred Grand Army. It doesn’t bank on visuals as much as Euphoria and in that sense, made it easier for me to connect with the characters.

At the end of this show, I was emotionally exhausted. I love to binge watch and rarely don’t do it, but Grand Army really had me take breaks between episodes because it was getting just so darn heavy. It’s not a perfect show, I don’t think that exists, but I loved how so many really difficult issues were handled and openly discussed such a variety of struggles without making it seem preachy.

For fans of: Euphoria but less stylized, realistic teen struggles

Over Christmas (Season 1)

In only three episodes, you follow Basti’s (probably) worst Christmas ever. His brother is now dating his ex, his parents are keeping secrets from him and he isn’t as honest with his friends as he used to be. The premise is fairly easy and includes a lot of elements (I’d almost say clichées) that most of us have seen in other productions. It’s not that it’s bad show, but when Basti eventually blows up and ruins everyone’s life in the process, I had a hard time sympathising with him.

BRIEF SPOILER MOMENT

Especially considering that he outed one of his friends to the entire town and they just brushed it off like that wasn’t some super evil thing to do, nevermind that he was angry at his friend for not telling him he was gay. Like … you really gotta make it all about you, huh?

SPOILER MOMENT ENDED

The show was just three episodes and only showed three days in the life of this chaotic family. It had some nice bonding moments, but also felt a bit over-acted at times. It’s an okay way to spend a couple hours, but it could have seriously fit into a movie too.

For fans of: Luke Mockridge, predictable Christmas stuff

Virgin River (Season 2)

This show was a surprise to me when I started it a year or so ago. I was so pleasantly surprised in turn afterwards when it got renewed almost immediately. To those who thought the previous season finale was cruel, this one will have you nothing but stressed.

Mel and Jack truly have some of the most natural and sizzling on screen chemistry and make this show so watchable! For me, personally, the “crime” element has started to take over a bit too much at times. I am not saying this is a crime show, because it is decidedly not, but I prefer the more human dilemmas that are about relationships and life circumstances rather than stuff that needs police involvement.

For fans of: small town charming romances with a lot of drama

Stargirl

I have not read the book and this has absolutely nothing to do with the show Stargirl, just thought I’d clarify that up front.

I’d definitely say it is targeted towards a younger audience, but not in a bad way at all. As far as lovers of the book go, they thought this version of Stargirl (the person) wasn’t as quirky and charming, but I found her absolutely enchanting (probably, because I had nothing to compare her to). Stargirl is one of those people that will come into your life, turn it upside down, teach you empathy and compassion and then vanish without a trace. I think there was definitely potential to go deeper and it was generally pretty slow moving, but the message came across. For one, it’s all about being YOU, but also so much about making mistakes and learning from them, showing compassion towards others without any gain for yourself and to not put people on pedestals. They are always bound to fall off.

For fans of: quirky “magic” girls

Black Beauty

Again, just to say that up front, I haven’t read the book, even though I know it’s a classic.

When I was little, I went riding at a stable that had a lot of rescue horses. Not all of them were suitable for children and there were some I loathed to ride, but mostly I was fine. I had my favourite horses and when I got them, all was good. Still, I fell a lot and eventually turned to other hobbies when it became more of a chore than a joy to go riding, but my inner horse girl always remained in some part.

This movie has absolutely beautiful cinematography and had me tearing up almost every other minute. But it’s also a fairly slow moving story and the heavy reliance on narration probably won’t be to everyone’s liking. However, I did like it overall. It gave me all the whimsical and nostalgic feels that I want in a horse movie.

For fans of: horse stories


What have you been watching lately? Do you want to see any of the things I mentioned? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #46

I really enjoy letting you in on all the nonsense I watch, so I hope you continue to like these posts as well! Fact is, it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever slow down in terms of all the stuff I’m watching, so … you might just have to deal with more content like this.

Love & Anarchy (Season 1)

I did not want to be on board with this show, because something inside of me just did not feel right rooting for two people to get together like that. Even the age difference aside, which everyone has their own opinion on anyway, the obvious cheating just really isn’t something I enjoy. They were reckless for the sake of being reckless! But then …

This show wasn’t about romance and cheating and office affairs. In the end, it really was about mental health, what it means to be labeled “crazy”, what people you surround yourself with and whether some relationships are healthy or downright toxic. I did not expect to go it in that direction at all, but it gave it so much more depth and while I still cringed a lot, I was actually very curious about that aspect.

For fans of: Scandinavian Netflix stuff, a guy who looks very much like Bill Skarsgard as a romantic lead

The Queen’s Gambit (Season 1)

Originally, I did not intend to watch this show. When things are set in the past, I often get bored and while the cast was intriguing … I did not think chess was really the topic to get me going. BUT I was wrong. My friends were so enthusiastic about it though (yes, sometimes I do listen to other people when it comes to TV. Rarely, but it does happen), I had no choice but to give it a shot.

I still stand by the claim that the show is a bit boring in some parts. Especially in the middle, certain elements were dragged out and there’s a lot of exposition and repetition of certain elements. However, that aside, Beth was a fascinating character and I was never more interested in chess than after watching that show. I especially appreciated how everyone got over the fact that she was a woman super quickly in favor of appreciating her skill at the game. Loved that! I also adored how there was no apparent bad guy in the end, everyone just wanted to win at a game and it was very respectful.

For fans of: chess, the cast, only moderate sexism even though it’s a historic setting

Dash & Lily (Season 1)

I’ve stated so many times how much I loved the book that was Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, I was super pumped for this adaptation. To my surprise, it was actually an 8-episode-show though instead of the movie I thought it to be. It was really fine though, because the more content the better.

At this point in time, I have already watched the show twice and might watch it again. It brought the spirit for me, was cute and quick and adorable. It turns out, I forgot all about the book though and only retained the memory of how it made me feel. Now that I have started reading the sequels, I have a feeling that the Netflix show was fairly faithful but improved on certain aspects. So, a general big thumbs up from me.

If you are a very keen watcher, you will also find a reference for Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which I just LOVED! (Blink and you’ll miss it, but it is there in episode 3)

For fans of: cute and fluffy teen romance with a generous sprinkle of Christmas

Operation Christmas Drop

Look, I am well aware that these type of Netflix Christmas movies are super cheesy and Hallmark-esque. This time, the cast was just too endearing not to check it out and I have no regrets. Operation Christmas Drop is definitely one of the better Christmas movies out there. The generosity and real life aspect of it is so charming and while I am sure it’s not all Santa’s laugh and elf giggles in actual life all the time, I loved this little reprieve. Not every cheesy movie is able to evoke an emotional reaction from me.

For fans of: cheesy Christmas romances, but set it on an island and emotional due to real life stuff

The Mandalorian (Season 1)

I’m gonna keep this very short: It will forever be beyond me how a dude with a helmet and a puppet can convey emotions and story so effortlessly, but it just works! I know exactly the kind of facial expression the Mandalorian has at almost any given point in time, but maybe it is that ability for us to project on to him that makes it so special. Either way, I am glad I caught up in time for season 2, even though the weekly release is killing me. I much prefer to binge.

Also, I never watched Clone Wars, so, initially I had no clue why everyone was freaking out so much recently (as of right now, chapter 11 is out), but I googled up on the matter and – it’s pretty freaking cool!

For fans of: Star Wars lore, space cowboys


Did you watch any of these? Are you starting to get into the holiday spirit with your watchlist? Let’s chat!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #45

Once again, I have watched more movies than TV shows. IT JUST HAPPENED! It feels so unlike me to not plunge into shows as much, but nothing really caught my eyes the way it usually does. Maybe I am just still hung up on the Haunting series … either way, here’s what I’ve watched instead.

The Broken Hearts Gallery

I’ve waited for this movie so long and it did not disappoint one bit!

Remember when I raved on and on about Set It Up after its release? I praised it for lifting the dry spell of really actually good romcoms, well … The Broken Hearts Gallery is that for 2020 for me. First of all, the chemistry between Dacre Montgomery and Geraldine Viswanathan is off the charts and effortless and easy and secondly, it follows what you’d expect a romcom to be while still never feeling stale or boring.

Add to that the fact that the lead is a woman of color who is not a size zero, who has an ex who is also played by a man of color and a best friend who is also a woman of color. I mean, thank heavens for that alone. Something that actually resembles reality and makes the characters feel real and still gives you the warm fuzzies inside.

For fans of: GOOD romcoms (not that cheeseball fest that Hallmark does)

Rebecca

I basically wrote a whole freaking short essay in defense of this movie on my letterboxd account, because all I saw was people trashing this movie.

If you adore the book or Hitchcock’s adaptation of Rebecca, then maybe this just isn’t for you. If you are, however, able to look beyond what has always existed and can appreciate beautiful aesthetic, a different/happier approach to how it all ends as well as how stunning Lily James and Armie Hammer look as a couple, then, by all means, check out the movie!

I, personally, enjoyed it a lot. It has a couple slow bits, but I appreciated that this wasn’t just the same story again and again. It may have lost some of its gothic character, but Kristin Scott Thomas delivers a striking performance as Mrs. Danvers and Lily’s character (nameless as ever) carries the whole movie.

There is some doubt in my mind that this was an unforgettable movie, but I do believe that some specific shots will remain in my mind forever.

For fans of: anyone on the cast, pretty Netflix stuff

Clouds

It is so very difficult to review a movie that is not just based on real people, but where the film maker knew the person in question and involved his entire family and group of friends in the making of the movie. I’m sure there were some creative liberties that were taken, but this was someone’s life, someone’s legacy – namely that of Zach Sobiech.

When you watch Clouds, it won’t take long until you find tears welling up in your eyes. By the end, I was a sobbing mess. Zach gave this world so much and always tried to show up for everyone, even when he barely had any energy left, which is why people kept showing up for him when it mattered. I enjoyed the film, but it’s still heartbreaking that this is a reality.

For fans of: inspiring sadness, strength in music

Holidate

Sometimes Netflix just makes utterly cringey stuff. They really tried to pack so much into this movie, including every single holiday they can imagine, which is a lot to being with anyway, and then add more stuff on top. I’m not a huge Emma Roberts fan to begin with, but it was hard to watch this movie anyway.

They tried to be self-aware and self-depreciating, but it just didn’t work? I don’t know how else to phrase it?

For fans of: I don’t even know? Movies that try to include as many holidays as possible?

Love and Monsters

I’ve missed Dylan O’Brien on my screen and am especially proud of him for doing movies like Love and Monsters, knowing how difficult it is for him to film any stunt scenes after his accident a couple years ago. And yet, this movie was so worth it!

A mix of adventure, love story and just pure fun and monsters is what makes Love and Monsters work. Dylan’s character is all of us, freezing in the most crucial moments, but especially faced by larger than life insects and creatures of all kind. But then he goes on this incredible journey and develops in such a beautiful way, while also still being able to deliver that ounce of humour we all need to lighten things. This movie just has so much heart!

The best moment was when he met Boy though. Boy, being a dog and all, doesn’t have a speaking role, but is still a scene-stealer extraordinaire. The dog trainer said that they had never seen such a close bond off screen either, so, that makes it all the more special too. I just loved that tiny bit of bts information!

In the end, the real star was the dog, but still – very much worth it!

For fans of: Dylan O’Brien, cute and super awesome dogs in movies

The Cellar (Ep 1, Amazing Stories)

This was born out of a need for more Dylan O’Brien and Victoria Pedretti.

So, technically, Amazing Stories is a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s series from the 80s. It’s an anthology Sci-Fi show, where each episode is a different story with different people in it. I am just going to talk about the one episode I watched, which was the Cellar.

Basically, you watch Dylan and Victoria fall in love as one of them is a time traveler and the other one was born a century ago. They have to find their places and it’s super tragic and I can’t believe they fit that into 50 minutes. I would have watched a three hour movie about it and would still 100% watch a sequel (which there will never be).

For fans of: Dylan O’Brien, Victoria Pedretti, time travel, love across time

You Me Her (Season 5)

I’m actually not sure if I have talked about this show before or not … I think I might have mentioned it. Anyway, it’s about a polyamorous relationship and this was the final season. It doesn’t really make sense to watch this or read about it unless you’ve watched the previous seasons?

It’s a Canadian show, I’ve been to set before, I generally like the vibe of it. There’s not a lot of shows that treat polyamory like a real long term relationship option, so that always caught my eye and I didn’t know that this would be the final season, but in the end it made so much sense. In the end, I was glad it was finally over, because if they had broken up one more time, I would have thrown them into the sun. But this? It worked and gave everyone the finish they deserved.

For fans of: exploration of polyamory


Have you watched any of these as well? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #44 (Spooky Edition)

Look, I know what I always say. I keep telling you all that I don’t watch horror, yet here we are today. I did a whole freaking horror binge and will now talk to you about it! (also, I am not going to do the whole “for fans of”-part … cause it would be for fans of horror and the cast for all of those? This is a very specific round up of things I’ve watched …)

The Haunting of Bly Manor

Why did I start with Bly Manor? I don’t really know.

I just saw a bunch of people talking about the sapphic vibes and how it wasn’t as scary as Hill House and … I caved? I always knew I liked the cast they got for this series (as well as the previous one), but I am an utter scaredy cat and I don’t enjoy feeling scared. (I honestly still don’t understand why anyone would.) Bly Manor really wasn’t that bad in that regard. Yes, dolls and people without faces are inherently creepy, but except for maybe two jump scares, this was rather tame.

The kids weren’t really my cup of tea and you will have to endure some elements of repeitiveness, but I think it makes sense in the overall picture (the repeating of things, not the kids being annoying).

In the show itself, they say how it is more of a love story than a ghost story, or how there sometimes is no difference and I liked that. I enjoyed that this was more about existential dread of being forgotten albeit having loved so much. How you can fail at protecting those you care about most, or succeed at it, depending on how you look at it. There was something thought provoking about it, but not anything that left me too terrified … although I will jump at anything moving in my mirrors.

Here’s another one of my original drawings, portraying Victoria Perdetti (a goddess) as Dani Clayton

The Haunting of Hill House

I already knew that much of the cast from Bly Manor had already worked together in Hill House and I wasn’t quite ready to let them go. In a way, a lot of horror-fans weren’t too pumped about Bly Manor, but I just have to give it credit, because it paved the way for people like me to check out Hill House. And yes, it is far more scary. I did not enjoy those ghosts or entities or screams or foreboding signs a lot, but I did live for the family dynamic.

The casting was so well done (again, I had a feeling that would be the case), but I especially loved the kids. I wanted to hold them and protect them and get them as far away from that cursed house as possible. Seeing their grown up counterparts was also such a joy and their fights cut deep even without any paranormal occurrences.

Overall, I think I liked Bly Manor a bit more, because I had troubles with Hill House after dark, but it was still amazing.

Helstrom (Season 1) 

This was marketed as a Marvel horror show. And it is Marvel, in the sense that it is based on the material from Marvel, but it is not, in fact, part of the MCU. And I don’t know if it’s really horror either. Do you think gross demons (that really only do anything gross every other episode) is horror? I don’t know. It’s a tough call, but I think it would have sufficed to advertise it as an edgier and darker show

Anyway, I binged through this pretty quickly and yes, it had a lot to do with my love for Tom Austen and missing him on my screen. It is a fairly slow show and needs time until about the halfway point to pick up. The strong suit are definitely the various relationships the characters have with each other. And even though I would have preferred not to have a romantic plotline, when there is a fantastic sibling relationsihp to explore RIGHT THERE, I will concede to it being important in the grand scheme of things.

I liked the occasional weird humour, but I can see it being hit or miss with a lot of people. All in all, I think it had a really intriguing set up for a potential next season (which I am not sure they will get).

Not my best work, but here you go anyway

The Invisible Man

If you haven’t noticed a certain pattern here … I will spell it out for you! I apparently am into a very specific type of man aka Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Tom Austen kind of men. Oliver was in this one as well, pair it with Elisabeth Moss and Aldis Hodge and you have my freaking attention. Once again, the cast was 100% the reason I watched this.

The lingering shots of just looking at nothing were so unsettling. The lack of sound and then very cleverly used sound – brilliant! You knew he was there, but you couldn’t see him. No one could and the way that gaslit poor Cecilia, I cannot even. It’s one of my worst nightmares that everyone will think that I have gone insane even though I am stating plain facts. That, in itself, is horror to me.

It was a tad long maybe, because we were like halfway through the thing and had had some pretty major confrontations already, but other than that … creepy. Definitely creepy.


Technically I also watched Ready or Not, but I only wanted to talk about spoiler stuff when it came to that one. The conclusion of this is that I still don’t like *most* horror. I will tolerate some? It’s really all down to the cast. What do you think?