I’m four episodes into this show and I’m feeling a lot of things. It’s not perfect by any means. Like Riverdale, it’s taken a story we know and love, and given it a dark modern twist. I guess it’s aimed at a YA audience and that might be why I don’t love it as much as I want to. Yet, anyway.
That said I’ve only dipped my foot in so far and there are a lot of things I do like, so I’m going to keep on going. The upside is that it’s come out at just the right time of year – and it’s a show my husband will actually willingly watch with me.
As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends. Based on the Archie comic.
Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) isn’t like most girls. She’s half-witch, half-mortal for a start and as her 16th birthday approaches, she must make a decision that none of us have ever had to make: sign herself over the the Dark Lord himself in exchange for unimaginable power or… not.
Meanwhile, there’s the issue of her boyfriend Harvey, and friends Susie and Rosalind (Lachlan Watson and Jaz Sinclair) to consider. How’s she supposed to leave them all behind to start a new life at witch school? Especially when Susie’s being horribly bullied.
Can she conceivably live a normal mortal life or will her magical side win out? These are the things Sabrina is working through with a little help from her aunts and her cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo). I think he’s her cousin.
I adore Zelda and Hilda. Ambrose too is delicious and a welcome addition to the Spellman household. Salem, Sabrina’s familiar so far is mute which I find disappointing but I guess it’s to be expected in this contemporary retelling. Still, it’s disappointing as he always used to get the best lines in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
I’m also quite enamored with Mary Wardell (Michelle Gomez), Sabrina’s teacher who is currently possessed by a demon who feasts on male flesh (yay). Although there is sure to be more drama afoot, at the moment she is an ally of the girls’ at school, advocating their women’s group and now, their banned books club.
And finally, the Weird Sisters, the mean girls who rule witch school. They’re so gloriously bitchy and wonderful. I expect big things from them. So yes, there is a lot to love so far and with so many TV shows, it’s more about the supporting characters than the main ones. I’m not quite sold on Sabrina the protagonist yet but there is time.
I’d like more magic, more bitchiness and less romancing Harvey. I want less school unless it’s about the feminist women’s club and I want more Madam Satan.
This show is proving to be very inter-sectional and feminist, I can only hope that continues. There have been some great lines while the whole concept of Sabrina not handing over her freedom to the devil, even if he can give her all the power and magic in the world is an interesting one. It’s bold to say no to the big man himself, and Sabrina is ruffling feathers left and right.
As she says herself, she wants freedom AND power. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that. I, for the record, would grab power and sign over my name in a heartbeat.
Netflix is currently in the throes of a rom-com renaissance. Finally giving us smart new romantic movies, directed mostly by women, we’ve been spoilt lately with the mighty To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) and to a lesser extent Claire Scanlon’s Set It Up (2018). Both movies are better than most films of this nature and I am loving it. So when I heard about Sierra Burgess starring my one true love Shannon Purser I got super excited.
SBIAL is not directed by a female director though and it’s also sadly not nearly as good. Are the two connected?
A case of mistaken identity results in unexpected romance when the most popular girl in high school and the biggest loser must come together to win over their crushes.
Sierra Burgess sets itself up in the usual way, establishing roles early on and leaving us in no doubt of who’s who in the social hierachy. Sierra (Purser) is the daughter of a famous literary father and a self-help guru mother (Alan Ruck and Lea Thompson) and ‘isn’t like other girls’ – or at least she prides herself on being one of the only girls who doesn’t care about her appearance. She’s smart basically and not distracted by such trivial things. (Yes there’s a slightly superior air to her but why not when she’s treated like literal dog shit by some of her peers?).
Veronica (Kristine Froseth) by contrast is a stone cold fox but a shitty person. She’s super mean to anyone ‘less’ and pretty horrid to her friends too. She absolutely has her sights set on humiliating Sierra just for the pure fun of it – which is how this whole tale begins.
Let me tell you that I will always root for the underdog. Sierra isn’t always likable but she is motherfucking Barb from Stranger Things and therefore, I’m her homegirl for life. She isn’t ugly by any stretch but I get that we’re supposed to consider her the lowest of the low on the looks and body beautiful scale (e.g. she’s completely normal). When Veronica pinches some of Sierra’s tutoring flyers and gives out her number to a hottie Jamey (Noah Centineo) who believes it’s Veronica’s – well, you’ve got yourself a modern-day retelling of Cyrano.
You didn’t think Sierra could pull this off on her own with her hideous ginger face and oafish stature did ya?
Sierra starts romancing Jamey by text very quickly but soon hits a wall when he asks her to face time. Being the resourceful brainiac that she is, she quickly sees a window of opportunity and goes for it. Veronica, you see is trying to impress a college boy who thinks she’s a dummy. If only someone were on hand to school her in the ways of the ancient philosphers in exchange for a borrow of her face and body for a couple of hours?
So our unlikely duo team up to pull the wool over the eyes of their boy crushes – and fall in love with each other instead. Well, sort of, unfortunately not in the way I was cheering for – but in the friendship sense. For me this is the most important relationship to come out of the film, who needs boys?
Sierra quickly learns that Veronica’s picture perfect life is very far from it (her mother, played by Chrissy Metz, is bitter, miserable and extremely hard on Veronica) which doesn’t excuse her behaviour but does explain some of it. Meanwhile, Sierra suffers for the pressure placed upon her by a brilliant and famous dad. She’s also just found out that she can’t just walk into her chosen college with straight As – she needs to stand out.
As the girls scheme and Jamey falls deeper and deeper for the Veronica/Sierra hybrid, things get increasingly elaborate (and stupid) – and Sierra’s friend Dan (RJ Cyler) implores her to come clean. Look, I don’t buy most of this and although I want to believe that the geek can get the hot guy (because I know it happens), this set up just doesn’t ring realistic at all. The cat fishing is creepy and nobody is as good and pure as Jamey is. We’re supposed to examine teen stereotypes here and realise that that’s all they are but surely the dishonesty would render forgiveness impossible – or at least never as quickly as it pans out onscreen? I know that’s a boring take but sue me.
Anyway, there’s a bit where Sierra pretends to be deaf and it’s really stupid. Then she does something horrible to Veronica proving that she’s no better than the school mean girls. The film is not terrible but it just isn’t in the same league as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and I resent it for that.
The final prom scene is very much a homage to John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink, down to the music and Sierra’s frock but it’s still not a good enough vehicle for my babe Shannon.
Justice for Barb (still)!
What does my girl think of this one? Would she catfish the fudge out of it or remain honest and true throughout? Find out here.
We start September with a new horror currently featured on Netflix. It tackles one of the most prolific afflictions (?) of our generation (as I type that I realise that we’re not actually talking about MY generation but the one beneath it, maybe even further down that that. God, I’m ancient).
After her cousin comes to visit and falls ill, a woman starts to receive strange cell phone messages.
We all know that selfies are bad and anyone who partakes might as well be murdered horribly as punishment, right? I think we can all agree. Obviously that isn’t the message here and I jest but one of my pet peeves is people who hate on social media even though its all part of evolution and the world we live in – and is generally a positive thing, sue me.
Anyway, this film doesn’t really do anything by way of a message which might be where it falls down. Perhaps if it had been making a comment on social media on the whole it would have been stronger but the result is all just very… so?
Hannah (Alyson Walker) is a good girl because she’s clean and pretty and conscientious. When her cousin Julia (Meelah Adams) comes to stay it is immediately apparent that something is majorly off about her. She looks dog rough for a start and this isn’t being mean, it’s the truth – the girl is clearly not well.
On arriving at Hannah’s, she soon falls into a stupor which leads her cousin on a dubious mission to find out just what the fuck is actually going on.
I might be a little hazy on the order of the day here as I was distracted (by social media, go figure) but Julia is from Germany and has traveled to the US to visit her cousin, Hannah. Back in her home country, Julia is a vlogger (popular enough to have a couple of conspiracy theories about her posted on the web but she’s no Zoella).
Before we even meet Hannah I believe there’s a spooky selfie taking sequence that reveals a nasty surprise for Julia – whenever she snaps a cheeky duck face, it is revealed that she is not alone. Fuck that, honestly – that would probably be the only way to deter me from taking pictures of my own beautiful face.
Back in the US with Julia in a catatonic fug, Hannah is desperately worried and determined to figure shit out. She first of all starts digging around Julia’s laptop which clues her in on some of her cousin’s recent vlogs. Or one, namely Selfies from Hell, Part 1. But where is part 2…? Ooooh.
Watching Part 1 doesn’t answer any of the questions Hannah has so she does what any sensible heroine would, she googles how to access The Dark Web. Is it that easy honestly? She also recruits her cyber/Skype love interest Trevor (Tony Giroux) who is a dab hand with a hard drive (pnar) who gives her just one piece of advice: don’t give out any personal information on The Dark Web. So she doesn’t and everything works out just fine. SYKE.
Obviously she gives out her personal email address within 17 seconds of speaking to someone – Trevor’s big plan is to go onto TDW and ask anyone if they know anything about these mysterious 13 selfies Julia’s been banging on about (apparently it’s a video which is kind of confusing and not what a selfie is but NVM. If you watch all 13 selfies then you’re basically in BIG TROUBLE).
Hannah gives her deets to user F34R3473R (fuck typing that more than once), gets sent first a nasty message, then receives several pervy phone calls. Who knew? During her Nancy Drew investigations, Hannah also uncovers multiple articles surrounding Julia’s mysterious death – but hang on a minute, she’s asleep upstairs in the spare room, non?
From here we loose grip on the narrative as Hannah finds herself in a sticky situation with the pervert stalking her, Trevor watches the 13 selfies (duh) and the evil entity reveals him/itself. I can’t really remember what happens at the end except to say there’s no happy ending for anybody concerned.
One interesting thing about Selfie from Hell is that main actress Meelah Adams produced a short by the same name (which then became this film) as part of her bachelor thesis on the effects of viral videos. I want to like it more for that reason alone. Unfortunately, it’s not very good beyond the deeply relateable premise.
It isn’t horrible, apart from not making the most sense, it’s just instantly forgettable. And let’s face it, there can’t be a more interesting playground to explore that The Dark Web so how is it so boring? I mean, apparently you can buy a raccoon on there – what’s not to love?
Performances aren’t great, the production values are not great and it isn’t that scary – however, the selfie scenes are creepy, I’ll give them that.
What does my girl think of this one? Would she add it to her Instagram story or delete that shit forever? Find out here.
Liberty Bell and friends are back in the ring though things are far from plain sailing for any of them. Ruth (Alison Brie) becomes a problem for Sam (Marc Maron) when she gets ideas above her station and directs a really quite good promo video for the GLOWs. She also flirts with a cameraman and tries to rebuild her friendship with Debbie/Liberty (Betty Gilpin), which is easier said than done.
Deb, meanwhile fights for her Producer role (and to be heard as a woman) and is forced to examine the message the GLOWs are sending out to America when it is accused of being too sexy. Meanwhile, Sam struggles with newfound fatherhood and the girls are required to compete with one another to get in the show week on week, which causes friction, who knew.
GLOW is wonderful Technicolor goodness all round – bright, female popcorn viewing and it’s an easy watch, which means a lot on a Sunday afternoon.
I’m already fully addicted to Good Girls, the Mae Whitman/Retta/Christina Hendricks starring comedy/drama about three mothers struggling to make ends meet. When they knock off a grocery store they could never dream they’d end up on such a roller-coaster ride, inadvertently involved with gangsters and trying to get straight despite every single obstacle that keeps popping up.
Or are they about to go a different way? If Beth’s head for lady boss business has anything to do with I think we have our answer.
The women are amazing, not only dealing with the drama but also their own lives. Beth is working through the aftermath of her husband of 20 years’ affair plus four children; Ruby has a sick daughter and needs to find a way to pay for experimental treatment, while Annie and her daughter Sadie have to face bullying as Sadie works out who she is.
It’s fantasy stuff I suppose but it’s fun and I like fun.
I’m only one episode in on each other these but so far so good.
Luke (Mike Colter) is a celebrity right now in his neighbourhood and Harlem is abuzz with his heroics. How long will this last and what are Mariah (Alfre Woodard) and her reluctant man toy Shades (Theo Rossi) up to? Meanwhile, Misty Knight (Simone Missick) comes to terms with the loss of her arm (pretty well if the above image is anything to go by) – and something terrible is surely about to happen for Claire (Rosario Dawson) and Luke because they’re so blissfully happy together. I can’t handle it!
While I am quite done with the Marvel Netflix shows, I really enjoyed the last Luke Cage and some of the episodes are directed by some great female directors, including Lucy Liu and Kasi Lemmons. Can’t say cooler than that.
As for Preacher, Jesse (Dominic Cooper) and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) rush to save the life of Tulip (Ruth Negga) as is hangs in the balance. Sadly this requires the assistance of Jesse’s heinous family and some supernatural ju-ju. What could possibly go wrong? I’m delighted we’ve finally got to this point in Preacher, in the graphic novel my favourite parts revolve around the swamp lands and Jesse’s evil grandmother (played by Split‘s Betty Buckley). So consider me sitting here with high hopes.
Easter holidays means time off work for me this year (yey) and that obviously means it rains everyday and I get to nest indoors watching my shows.
This is what I’m currently digging…
Ru Paul’s Drag Race – Season 10
I’m not blown away by anyone in the line up yet but then I’m only two episodes in and Netflix is releasing episodes week by week, so I can’t just rinse it in one sitting.
I think there’s potential for drams between Miz Cracker and Aquaria, and I’m kind of into The Vixen – but other than that we’ll just have to see.
Alongside Season 10, I’m also playing catch up on Season 5 and All Stars Season 2, which is a different kettle of fish altogether. Season 5 had so many stand-out queens – Alyssa Edwards, Alaska, Jinkx Monsoon, DETOX – that it’s almost unfair to all the other seasons. Anyway, I’m having the most fun.
I’ve only seen one episode but man, it was a banger. I’m now obsessed and can’t wait to dig in further. It has a sort of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo vibe with Rami Malek‘s socially anxious Elliot Alderson working for ‘Evil Corp’ by day and hacking shit by night.
He’s just met Christian Slater and done something dramatic that will set in the motion a series of events that will change his life – and society – forever. Presumably.
The End of the F***ing World
Everyone’s been gushing about this since it appeared on Netflix but I just wasn’t that into it. The two main characters – played by Black Mirror’s Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden – are kind of hard to love. But I got there and then I really enjoyed myself. It’s quite bleak but also sweet with a great supporting cast, including Steve Oram and gorgeous Gemma Whelan.
This week’s entry revolves around three TV shows because that’s basically all I’m doing at the moment. Working, coming home, reading or watching TV. It’s not the most exciting life in the world but it is January so it’s kind of expected, right?
After finding out he has an STD, Dylan must get back in touch with every girl he has ever had sex with to let them know the bad news.
I’m behind the times a tad but Netflix has kindly just added Season 3 of this sweet little show and I’m delighted to be able to sit down and enjoy it. It’s fluffy viewing and very angsty about unrequited love and shagging but there’s something relateable about it. I think it captures your early twenties really well and the main characters are pleasant to look at.
I’m personally here for the friendship between Evie (Misfits’ Antonia Thomas) and Abigail (Hannah Britland) which is somewhat doomed given that Evie is in love with her best friend Dylan, who’s in a relationship with Abi. Awks.
(I’m only a few episodes in, so all this is of course subject to change).
An anthology series exploring a twisted, high-tech world where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide.
The big don of viewing pleasures, BM is back and I’m so glad.
Season 4 has been more consistent and stronger than the last, and although at times it feels like we’re doubling back on themes we’ve already explored with Charlie Brooker, it still feels (to me) like fresh television.
When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.
Have you ever just had the shittest day? One so bad it prompts you to question everything, including your place in the world? Ruth has.
Not only has she just been burgled, she’s also been shamed and let down badly by the fuzz. She’s fucking pissed. And when the police fail to help her a second time, she decides to take matters into her own hands with a little help from her odd neighbour Tony (Wood).
This vigilante business has a tendency to spiral out of control though, and does when Ruth gets back her laptop but not the family silver, bequeathed to her by her late grandmother. Grandma appears like a vision at intervals throughout the film to gee Ruth along in her quest, like she needs the encouragement. She’s got would-be ninja Tony for that.
The unlikely duo unravel the mystery of the missing silver via a series of clues and good old-fashioned luck, but accidentally stumble onto a scene much bigger that they ever expected. There’s a lot of violence and some life lessons learnt along the way, but of course.
Getting mixed up with some super nasty characters, including messed up Christian (Graye), psychotic Dez (Levy) and their leader, Marshall (David Yow) leads to a lot of blood shed. The question is, will Ruth ever get her silver back? And more importantly, will she get the one thing she really, really wants: for people to just stop being arseholes?
Well, there’s only one way to find out, motherfuckers.
Macon Blair‘s directorial debut wasn’t going to be overly fluffy now, was it? The star of the truly excellent Blue Ruin and Green Room (by director Jeremy Saulnier) has picked up a few tips along the way, and is undoubtedly a filmmaker to keep an eye on. By blending humour with hyper-violence and wonderfully real observations, Blair has basically got the winning formula. I couldn’t love him more.
There are elements that are just so perfectly executed that they’ll surely stick in the mind for some time. Highlights for me include Melanie’s memorable bedtime story to her friends kid, in which she ponders the injustice of a stranger breaking into her own home, her eye-watering run in with the elderly owner of a junk shop (ouchy) and a particularly vivid puking scene.
Melanie Lynskey’s Ruth is so identifiable and authentic. Jill commented in a message to me that it was refreshing to have her dress as a real woman and that’s so spot on. She’s a woman you’d be friends with, the one you’d have a pint with on a Friday night – and I want more of that. Wood too, is starting to grow on me and you best believe I never thought I’d say that about Frodo.
I love this movie, I love the tone, the detail, all performances and Jane Levy (always). I can’t wait to watch it again to be honest – or see what Macon does next.
5/5. Excellent and couldn’t be more my cup of tea.
What did Jill think of this? Did she want to break it’s fingers or go on a vigilante road trip with it instead? Find out here.
It seems like you can’t move an inch without bumping into a Gilmore Girls Reunion hot take at the moment and I’m afraid it’s not going to be any different round these parts. Not today. For today I tell you exactly what I thought!
There will be *spoilers* because they’re unavoidable, so please do tread carefully if you’re not up-to-date yet. I’d hate to be the one to ruin anything for you. If you’re a GG fan, you need to experience the magic first hand.
*Seriously though, MASSIVE SPOILERS*
We open (if I’m remembering it correctly) with Lorelai and Rory walking swiftly through Stars Hollow. Rory, it appears, is a very busy globetrotter now and is only passing through. Based on what Lorelai says about the Stars Hollow tour, Rory hasn’t been back for a while. It’s Winter and that can only mean one thing. Does Lorelai smell snow? Yes she does.
The dialogue is as fast-paced as ever but this time it’s peppered with current pop culture references and it’s kind of weird. The speed at which the girls speak is like machine gun fire and it’s cheesy as hell but I just do not care, this is going to be amazing. So magical and comforting. Pass the goddamn hot chocolate.
Rory has a boyfriend, and it’s not one of the (un)holy trinity! His name is Paul and everyone but everyone forgets him the instant they meet him. Even Rory keeps leaving him places. They’ve been dating two years, though they only see each other rarely because of her busy schedule. Lorelai and Luke are still together and that’s all grand and great and all, but where’s Emily?
Emily! 😦 She looks so tiny and sad, and she is sad of course because Richard is no more and will I ever stop crying? The gargantuan portrait of him in her drawing room is amazing, leave her alone Lorelai! Bants between mother and daughter (Emily and Lorelai) is extra frosty in the opening episode and we soon find out why, via a flashback to Richard’s funeral. Oh GOD here come the tears again!
Significant information about Rory: she’s had an article published in the New Yorker! And she also has lots of logs on the fire (or whatever her manic self-assuring phrase is). You get the impression that not everything is kicking off the way this girl thought they would and that’s shit, and all too identifiable. Though I’ve never had the drive and ambition of Rory Gilmore. I’m more Paul Anka (the dog) than Rory Gilmore, let’s face it. Anyway, this is all so cheesy and reference-y but I literally DGAF!
Let’s move this a long a little, as we have 6 hours to get through and I can’t break it all down.
The Best Bits
Emily and everything Emily thinks, says and does
This woman is The Don. I’m actually very happy with what they did with her arc. Nobody could ever have replaced the relationship she had with Richard so it makes sense she ended up with her wonderful self. What a woman. The entire scene in Fall where she finally loses her cool at the DAR is perfection. Truly.
Oh Paris, you haven’t mellowed one bit and I love you for it. Highlights include the whole schtick with Doyle, the nanny and their town house in the city with way too many stairs, and the bathroom scene at Chilton. Could it be any more Paris?
I read somewhere that she’s become the lesbian crush du jour which is all well and good, but wasn’t she always? (Actually, it seems yes she was). I mean, she’s a character that has always stayed true to herself and that self is glorious. Difficult, determined, defiant and ferocious – but always funny, self-aware and fiercely loyal. It was soooo good to see her.
Babette & Miss Patty back together
These two are me. Honestly, I hope I’m still into fit boys when I’m a grown up.
My god he’s fit. I’m a little bit sad he’s not so brooding anymore but he’s so hot it physically hurts me. I’m glad he hasn’t gotten back together with Rory, even though he’s the one she should be with ultimately.
If they do move this into a new series then they’ve laid the groundwork well for a relationship revisit but as Meghan says, Jess is too good for Rory. She’s such a whiny twat.
It’s not nearly good enough that she only pops up right near the end of the reunion and for less than five minutes, but I’ll take it. The “Still best friends?” moment was lovely. I might have had a lump in my throat. And all those cakes! Melissa McCarthy you are a dream.
Even thought the L&DB are somewhat irritating, against my better judgement I enjoyed it when they rocked up in Stars Hollow for one last hooray with Rory. I haven’t mentioned the Logan story line yet, which I’m indifferent to really. The cheating wasn’t really a surprise as Rory has form (getting it on with Dean after he married Lindsay) and also it happens. It’s not right of course but it’s Logan who’s being the disloyal fuck in this scenario.
God everyone despises Logan don’t they? I really don’t mind him and this was a corny, yet fitting way to see him off (or did we?). That steam punk hat Rory wears is TDF though, and I need one!
See also: Lorelai’s Wedding Hat.
The Lines Episode
I would so read the waiting in lines series Rory works on in Spring. I would also totally do it with a Wookiee.
He’s even more of a douche-bag! That joke about him selling out wears thin realllly fast and goddamn it, that girl deserves better. Of all the characters in this show I think Lane was the most wasted, she was so cool. I can only remember seeing Lane properly a handful of times throughout the reunion too – and it sucks. It sucks as bad as Zack’s whole fucking deal.
Shut Up, Rory
Alexis Bledel is such a bad actress, I’m sorry. She’s just so awkward. She is stunning looking obviously and I want to enjoy the character of Rory so much, but I just don’t. She’s a sniveling brat. The worst (though not as bad as Zack, or Taylor. Oh god, and April). Fuck April.
The fat shaming in Summer is appalling, fuck you guys really. This is 2016! Lorelai even jokingly scolds Luke for body-shaming in Winter, so I thought something might have changed. Nothing has changed. This is bad, guys – do better.
I still hate the Lorelai/Rory fights. They are always so easily avoidable. They also remind me of the one and only time my Mum stopped talking to me (it was justified), and that still hurts my heart.
See also: Emily and Lorelai arguments. Just hug your mother, Lorelai for the love of God and forget this nonsense. It’s not worth it.
I guess most things come full circle so it makes sense but it’s very dull. She should of ended up with Paris after all, though P is too much woman for a wet blanket.
Naomi Shropshire (Alex Kingston being her usual gorgeous self), Rory’s one time book collaborator, makes a Brexit quip in the Spring episode. No. I come here to escape the world, not to be reminded of how scary it is. Stop it at once.
The Musical Bits
Boring! I’ve all but blocked them from memory.
Keep on walking, dickhead.
I think I’ve covered most of my thoughts here, I’m starting to feel sleepy. I’m also getting the urge to watch all four episodes all over again. This came at the perfect time of the year and as a wonderful birthday gift, and I’m not quite ready to leave it behind.
I don’t know if they’ll take this show any further. All I really know is that I’ll be right here if they do. It is cheesy as hell and more than irritating at times but I love it more than I can say. It’s quite new to me so I can only imagine what it would have meant had I discovered it first time around.
Have you taken a wander round 2016 Stars Hollow? What did you think? ❤
This week we were going to go for a Nicholas Sparks adaptation to guarantee maximum schmaltz and romance with a capital ‘R’. Because both our forays into the Romance genre so far have proven very telling about the human beings that we are, e.g. more into the anti-romance.
That’s until Netflix, the bastard (I love you!), decided to axe The Last Song without so much as a I-don’t-know-what, maybe a call or something wouldn’t have gone amiss? I mean, I was looking forward to enjoying the chemistry between Miley Cyrus and her once real-life beau, the younger Hemsworth brother. But no. Not to be, much like the doomed love affair between these annoyingly attractive young ‘uns. So no The Last Song for us.
Instead I used this opportunity to pick a film from my Netflix queue and one that has come up several times over the last few weeks. I’ll talk about it in a wee bit but first, the review.
IMDB Synopsis: An underachieving voice coach finds herself competing in the movie trailer voice-over profession against her arrogant father and his protégé.
Lake Bell wrote, directed and stars in this film, about a voice coach called Carol who wants in on the male dominated world of voiceovers. Following the death of the ‘Godfather of Industry’, Don LaFontaine (real person), there are a few big hitters waiting in the wings to take over, including Sam Sotto (Carol’s father) who’s kind of a BIG DEAL himself and his protégé, Gustav Warner (Burning Love‘s, Ken Marino).
The biggest gig in voiceover land is, of course, the LaFontaine coined phrase, “In a World…”. That’s like the great white whale of jobs basically. One day, on an assignment to help turn Eva Longoria into a convincing cockney slag (“Is that what you think, you stupid slapper?”), Carol steps in for Gustav on a temp trailer for a ‘romantic comedy for children’ (he has a throat thing see). She, of course, nails the job. Then she gets some other good gigs following that, despite the lack of support from her father, who thinks Carol should stick to accents as the industry “does not crave a female voice.”. Her specialty? Her Russian Star Wars thing.
Not knowing who Carol is (especially as she doesn’t share Sam Sotto’s stage name), Gustav pursues her romantically, and then harder when he learns that she’s stealing jobs from underneath him. Sam is his partner in crime, not knowing that the graphic details of Gustav’s night of passion with this woman is with his own daughter.
Meanwhile, Louis (Demetri Martin), the studio engineer where Carol is working with Eva, gently and awkwardly woos her too (and let me tell you, he is ADORABLE). Throw in a couple of sub-storylines, including a would-be affair between Carol’s sister, Dani and a hot Irish guest at the hotel she works at; and troubles with their father, Sam and his 30-year-old girlfriend, Jamie (Alexandra Holden); plus some hilarious minor characters, and you’ve got a pretty good film, thankyouverymuch.
Will girl power prevail in the end and see Carol snatching the “In a World…” gig from Sam and Gustav, despite the fact she’s a fucking WOMAN? Will she fall for the right guy? and where can I actually see this Amazonian quadrilogy starring Cameron Diaz? I mean, it’s basically Mad Max: Fury Road Redux but I would be all over it like creeping ivy, man.
You can see for yourself because this movie is out there for the taking.
I liked this movie a lot because, after horror, these are exactly the kinds of movies I crave. I bloody love a quirky, Indie comedy and I like it even better when they give me a protagonist I can actually imagine talking about cocks with. In short, she’s likeable and almost like a real person, and that my friends, is a very good thing.
There isn’t much I don’t like about In a World…, it gave me laughs and it also gave me a couple of lump in the throat moments, particularly when Jamie the Bimbo Trophy Wife proves she’s much more when she bollocks her jealous boyfriend and tells his to go and be a good father, or else. There may have been real tears when he dedicates his Lifetime Achievement Award to his daughters too. But that’s just me: a sucker for a daddy moment.
I did wonder why the hell two men were in the running for a voiceover for a quadrilogy about Amazonian women though. It genuinely makes no sense to me from a marketing POV to use a male voice. And since they wanted Carol for this very reason in the first place, to ‘inspire’ the millions of girls who would flock to see it, I do not understand why they suddenly get excited about Sam Sotto, when he decides to compete for the job too. Just me?
All in all I am enamoured with Lake Bell. I think her romance with Louis is adorable and she utters to him possibly the greatest line in movie history after a night singing Ice T at the karaoke: (to paraphrase) “Have you got any of those sleeping pills? It’s going to be really hard to fall asleep after you kiss me”.
4/5 – a nice film, with some funny bits. I want LB’s wardrobe please (5/5 for that).
One day I’ll complete a podcast without a siren interrupting me, I swear. Special snaps to www.bensound.com for my cheeky intro music.
Also, if you want to know more about mumblecore movies, as mentioned in my podcast, this explains it better than I do.
I’m sick as a parrot, snotting and coughing all over the place and to top it all off, I royally fucked up my pancakes. It’s generally been a very mediocre Shrove Tuesday (and regular Tuesday) in the life of this Voluptuous Mind.
Except I think I might have just found my new favourite film of all time, on Netflix, just there for the plucking.
Synopsis: Jon is a wannabe musician, writing his own songs, with varying degrees of success, around his day job. By chance one day he finds himself playing keyboards with eccentric pop band, the Soronprfbs.
Verdict: Oh my gosh. I avoided this film at first because I didn’t know what to expect. I have to admit to not being that musical and although I do love music (90’s hip hop/The Smiths), I’m just not that into music biopics or the like.
This is something along those lines and in my mind I thought it would be boring and more than a little wank. I stand corrected as it’s neither of those things. In fact, it’s pretty close to perfect in terms of story (if a little flimsy), characterisation and dialogue. Mixing genuinely funny moments with poignant scenes, it gives you the feels where you don’t expect to have them.
The titular Frank, in particular, is an enigma far beyond his mask. Wearing a papier mâché head at all times (even to sleep), he carries a certificate that permits him to keep it on, even in the face of authority. He has a phenomenal singing voice while the rest of the band have varied and unique musical talent. Somehow it kind of sort of works.
Frank is bolstered by his not very warm girlfriend, Clara, who takes an instant dislike to Jon, telling him early on to ‘go home’. The band have traveled to Ireland to record their first album and none of them seem that fussed about Jon, only Frank wants him around.
But Jon is convinced that he has the potential to access the far corners of his mind creatively. Will he be able to do that with a little help from his new friend? As the bond between the two of them grows, so too does Clara’s hatred for Jon.
Jon’s social networking skills, meanwhile, start to build up a small but strong following for the band, promising them an audience they never knew they wanted. Frank believes that Clara doesn’t want people to like them, but following a genuine tragedy within the group, she agrees to the band travelling to perform at the South by Southwest festival in Texas. This is not a sign that Clara is softening though, as she threatens to stab Jon if he ‘fucks up America’.
I’ll let you watch for yourself to learn the rest but I do highly recommend this film, which was inspired by the book, Frank by John Ronson (about 70’s Comedian and musician, Frank Sidebottom).
I will just sign off by saying that I love Maggie Gyllenhaal always and this performance is no exception. There’s a scene in which Jon calls Clara a really bad name (spoiler alert: it starts with a ‘C’ and ends in ‘unt’) and I thought to myself, yes that’s exactly what this character is (oh my but what a fabulous one).
Fassbender too plays his part well. Who knew that one man could elicit such genuine emotion whilst wearing an expressionless helmet/mask? He has an inimitable charisma that makes people follow him and somehow too, believe in his vision. There’s an element of something else there too that makes you want to protect him.