Friday, January 30, 2015

What I'm Watching, Reading, & Listening to #4

With the first month of January coming to an end, I figured I better wrap up my month in pop culture. Most shows are back from their winter breaks so it's really nice to be able to watch shows again. I am, however, desperately seeking shows to power through. Got a suggestion? Let me know!


Listening to:
The Sidekick's -- Runners in the Nerved World
This is absolutely a record you should be listening to. The Sidekicks are a perfect example of a band that has been able to evolve gracefully over time. They're from Cleveland and they recently signed to Epitaph which is pretty cool. There isn't a song on this record that I'm not in love with. It's the perfect balance of indie anthems, strong lyrics, and chill jams.


Reading:

Play it As it Lays by Joan Didion
Didion is a rare gem that I was lucky enough to discover in a literature course. She writes individually beautiful sentences. Her novels are the kind that make you heart sick and jealous that you aren't as clever as she is.

On Film


Boyhood
So, yeah, really late to this. But it was incredible. If you're into random bursts of crying due to relatable nostalgia than this is definitely a movie for you. If you're not familiar, it's a film that was documented over twelve years. It follows the same "family" over time to create a realistic view of what it feels like to grow up. I know that kind of sounds like a television show, but with television, the change is far more subtle and less powerful.

In Your Eyes
As stated in the last Pop of Culture post, I really dig Zoe Kazan. So, it was a no-brainer that I would be drawn to this movie. Plus it was written by Joss Whedon. It's about a girl (Kazan) and a boy from different parts of the country that have connected souls. They're able to communicate, see, and feel whatever happiness or distress the other is feeling. Naturally, the two start to fall in love as their real lives start to fall apart. It's a strange, at times messy, yet perfectly weaved together love story.

American Sniper
Obviously this is NOT my kind of movie, but I went with my boyfriend. I didn't hate the movie per se, but I definitely feel like it was a very one sided view of war. I loved Bradley Cooper so much in it (plus Joel from Parenthood and the Dad from Nashville), but I thought the film was so...flat? There just wasn't much happening. The most compelling parts were when he was at home struggling with PTSD and trying to be a father. But of course, that wasn't the focus of the film. I get the decisions that were made, but I wanted to see more? Not to mention it had one of the worst endings of all time. If you're into one sided war films, this is the one for you. Personally, I think there are better war films.


On Television

Transparent
I have always loved Jeffery Tambor and I'm always looking for a show to binge watch. This show is about a transgender parent that decides to come fully out to her children and the people in her life. This decision is made more complicated by the fact that all of her adult children are very complicated and selfish people. This show is vulgar, messy, real, and very important.

Pretty Little Liars

This show will forever be my guilty pleasure. It's the show that annoys me the most, occupies my time (seriously, who the frick is A?) and it's also full of well dressed babes. The show has progressively gotten darker and continues to confuse and creep me out. If you've never seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it. It might seem cheesy as a teen drama and ABC Family show, but I can guarantee it's much more than that.

Parks and Recreation
This is easily my favorite show of all-time and my heart is breaking that it's the LAST season. I have no idea why a show this wonderful is ending, but it is and I'm devastated. As with most final seasons, there was a time gap and it all feels very final. It's just as witty and wonderful as its always been. I'm really truly going to miss these characters and laughing as hard as I do. Again, if you've never seen this show, stop what you are doing. Head to your device and turn on your Netflix. There is not a single character (actress or actor) or hell, even a line that isn't worthy. It lives up to every single bit of hype it has ever received. I'm probably gonna cry my eyes out when it ends no matter what happens.

Girls
I've always had a complicated relationship with Girls. It's hard for me to separate Lena Dunham the person from Hannah and it's really hard for me to sympathize with a spoiled brat of a character. Over the years, however, I think that Dunham and Hannah have both grown up considerably. It's still not my favorite show. I'm still learning to like 99% of the characters. But we're getting there. This season Hannah leaves NYC and I think it's making the show more interesting. The writing has gotten better and I think, there's a chance for this show to be so much better than it is.

Twin Peaks
I never watched Twin Peaks when it was on (I wasn't that cool of a pre-teen), but I decided to power through it a couple weeks ago. I enjoyed it because I enjoy weird mysteries, but I certainly didn't love it. Maybe I'm good at television, but I guessed the killer within the first few episodes. But that's fine, 'cause the sweaters in this show are out of this world. I would recommend this show if you like things weird and want to understand a shit ton of pop culture references. (I get so much more now!)

Parenthood
Okay, so I talked about this in the last Pop of Culture post, but Parenthood is over. Like for good. What got me into this show was all of the actors in it (Dax Shepard, Lauren Graham, Mae Whitman, Peter Krause), but what kept me was the core of this show. It's a show about a family. A very realistic family that deals with realistic family problems. Every single member of the Braverman clan is flawed, but every single one of them loves each other unconditionally. Its power lied within the way the actors always seemed to be free styling the script and how relatable it all was. Your family might not have dealt with something specific in the show, but every moment seemed like something you've definitely experienced in some way. There aren't many shows that focus completely on families that are realistic for the masses. This show was powerful on so many different levels and I'm going to miss it so much. It wasn't always at its best, but it had some wonderfully perfect moments. The finale was pretty much 100% what I expected, but I still cried my eyes out. (If you like crying in solitude for no reason then you should go watch all of the seasons on Netflix.)


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