To finish: 1) link latest preview breakdown for Bachelorette — 2) finish what to do in the city section
Hello // Overview!
Howdy! I’m starting a blog! I’m using this platform as a way to write down all my thoughts about the content I consume. Look out for posts every Thursday! It’ll have quick reviews of the movies and TV shows I’ve watched during the week, including some of the cool events I’ve gone to. I’ll also write about fun programming events that are coming up in New York City and sometimes other spots around the world. Occasionally, I’ll write longer reviews of pieces that have really caught my eye and I’ll link to them below.
For the past year and a half or so, I’ve been writing for FF2 Media. It’s a great platform based around supporting female artists. I’ll link to my writing there, so you can keep up with what else I’ve been writing.
For this first week, I’m going to cover what I’ve seen for the past few weeks to catch up.
What I’ve Been Watching
I Love You, Now Die
A few Tuesdays ago, I saw an early screening for the HBO-produced documentary I Love You, Now Die, directed by Erin Lee Carr. The story follows the highly controversial trial of Michelle Carter, accused of encouraging her boyfriend to suicide through text messages. I’m in the process of writing a longer review, but I found the documentary to be extremely thought provoking. Split into two parts, the documentary argues for the prosecution and the defense, going past what was presented in court. Here’s the trailer.
The film exposes how easily adults misunderstand teenagers and how we text, especially when laws still haven’t caught up to how we use technology and social media. I don’t think the perspective of teenagers is totally grasped by the film either, which isn’t a shock when very few teenagers were involved in any aspect of filming, but the film does take the step of looking at how easily public opinion sways against young women and speculates as to why. The documentary makes interesting points about the divisive Massachusetts case and will keep you talking long after its over. Definitely worth the watch and the discussion. (2.5/5)
Look out for my full review, coming soon.
In preparation for the new season that premieres on Hulu on July 26th, I’ve been rewatching Veronica Mars. I’ve made it through the second season and forgot what an amazing show it is. With a cast on par with 10 Things I Hate About You, the show explores so many character arcs in such a short time: annoying but charming bad boy Logan, the wildly nice and reliable best friend Wallace, and the smart and quirky girl Mac. Of course, I can’t forget about Veronica and her wittiness. If anything, watch the show for her amazing comebacks and tazing assholes.
The rewatch has reminded me how these sorts of shows have fallen away from regular pop culture. Veronica Mars doesn’t try to avoid the cheesiness or ridiculousness that every good teen show has, but it’s still smart, thoughtful, and, to an extent, realistic. It doesn’t get too ridiculous, like Riverdale, and doesn’t try too hard to talk about ‘the issues’, like The Fosters‘ spinoff, Good Trouble. It balances Jackie (aka Tessa Thompson) pointing out racism, larger class issues between the rich and poor, and Veronica’s tumultuous love life (I vote for Logan, but Piz is a good second). The case-per-episode format works well to introduce new characters and the larger themes of the season; you wouldn’t think that a dog being run over would reveal so much information about who killed a bus full of high schoolers, but it does and it works. So few shows have the writing, or the acting, to pull it off. Not to bring it up again, but the chemistry between Jason Dohring (Logan) and Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) is wild. (so far 5/5)
Get ready for me to binge season 3 and the Kickstarter film, then probably agonizingly wait for the new, Hulu season to come out.
The new season of The Bachelorette is simultaneously the most exciting and the most infuriating. This season has dealt with more ~real~ issues than ever before, well as real as reality TV can get. Hannah has been one of the most progressive Bachelorettes, constantly sticking up for herself, no matter what.
All the drama, though, comes from the villain of the season, Luke P.. Somehow he made it to the final 4 and into the final few episodes with the *fantasy suites*. I’m not sure how, considering on his hometown date, he talks about how God came to him while he was showering to tell him to stop chasing sex and focus on settling down. Wild considering he slut-shames Hannah in the latest preview, probably the next episode. That moment encapsulates the whole season: Hannah gives Luke so many second chances, infuriating considering we can all see the red flags, but also we see her fall in love with other great guys. Luke, at least the reality TV character, represents exactly the kind of guys women deal with right now; they know how to say what we want to hear, but they don’t actually respect what we think or feel. Luke’s whole reason for being on the show is one that he wants to win and why are we surprised by that?
Even now, Luke, the actual person, has apologized on Instagram for his behavior, but it reveals the true flaw of The Bachelorette and really any public figure, that we never know what’s real growth and understanding versus what’s performed for us so we keep paying attention. A great book I just read, Awards for Good Boys: Tales of Dating, Double Standards, and Doom, explores the idea of male performance, especially in relationships. It covers every kind of guy from celebrities to guys you meet on Tinder. The book is written by Shelby Lorman, a great female comedian I follow on Instagram! I guess Instagram is the place for everything these days.
But, really the only thing getting me through the season is BachelorFantake. Their episode recaps and preview breakdowns are hilarious and wonderful. They release recaps every Tuesday and preview breakdowns every Wednesday so check them out. Here’s links to the latest recap and preview breakdown. (4/5) ❤
Big Little Lies
Of course, Big Little Lies airs every Sunday and I watch every Sunday. So far, the second season hasn’t matched up to the first. I binged the whole first season after it finished and I think the agony of watching it week to week only brings out my dissatisfaction with the episodes. Now that each episode is only 45 minutes, instead of extending to the full hour, it becomes easier to nitpick the cliffhangers and expect more and more each episode. Although this is Big Little Lies and the first season doesn’t give us all the answers, giving us the same cliffhanger week to week is boring; what is happening with Bonnie and this drowning situation? I do love Meryl’s weird fake teeth and her wig situation; it’s very unsettling, but in the most unexpected and wonderful way.
I haven’t been super happy with how they’ve dealt with Nicole Kidman’s character, Celeste, mostly because they haven’t dove into any of the larger issues at play: when are we going to get more on her apparent drug addiction and her sleeping with random guys? When does all of it become something other people see as a problem? At times, it feels like she’s backtracking into who she was in season one and I don’t know that they’ve really explored her grief well, as opposed to say Mary Louise’s grief and resulting anger. I am happy with where they’ve taken Jane and that she’s become a foil to Celeste. The way Jane deals with her trauma and becomes more connected to the other women, like Bonnie and Celeste, is interesting and brings more development to all those characters. I’m excited to see where the season goes, but haven’t decided yet if it was worth it to mess with an almost perfect first season. (3.5/5)
This show is pure chaos. As each episode focuses on one character, we get more and more information that doesn’t seem to add up to anything. The show feels too reliant on the shock value; what wild and crazy thing is someone doing this week? I wonder if any of the story will hold up or even be watchable once people know the big surprises.
And, I gotta be honest: I feel conflicted about the 30 dicks scene. As much as the show wanted it to be a big shocking moment, especially in a television landscape where male nudity is rarely seen, it doesn’t actually do anything new. Throughout the show so far, women are seen as sex objects: we see their nudes, without their consent, or we see women strip down to have sex with a guy they like. This episode showed us some of the only male nudity on the show: 30 penises that a guy, who is both potentially repressing his homosexuality and potentially homophobic, is trying hard not to look at. We don’t get to see these penises through the female gaze, which would push against what’s typical, instead we look at them through the male gaze, like always. For a show that is doing something different in showing a trans girl and her potential relationship with a guy (and even discussing how to define it), this scene was too expected. Do something different; let women sexualize men the way we are always sexualized. But, the show doesn’t care–it’s about shock value and making itself a talking point on Twitter, right?
Part of what annoys me about Euphoria, and something that I think is epitomized in the way they handled the 30 dicks scene, is that I don’t think they’re actually trying to say anything. Every message in the show is muddled. You could argue that Rue’s storyline of drug use pushes us to see the negative effects of drug use in a way that’s never been seen on TV before, except that the show glorifies party culture and also shows drug use in a romanticized, crazy-hallucinations-with-your-bestie way. By the end of the season, the messages could be more clear, but honestly I don’t see where the show is going at all. Maybe it’s supposed to be like that, but I’m skeptical. Clarkisha Kent’s article on EW did get me thinking about the meaning of Rue’s voiceover, but watch out, only read if you’re caught up – some mild spoilers. (2.5/5 for now)
A more talked about topic is the episode on Kat, the plus-size, insecure girl played by Instagram model, Barbie Ferreira. They explore her background, Tumblr, and her connection to the world of fan fiction. Although most of the coverage has focused on some animated One Direction fan fiction and Louis Tomlinson’s subsequent anger about it, I think the real issue is the alleged fake Tumblr the show set up. The linked Popsugar article is the only mention of this outside of Twitter and Tumblr. Many Twitter users have alleged that the fake tumblr connected with actual teenage girls and pretended to be one of them, all for research for the episode. This wasn’t a hard thing to discover, considering they show Kat’s url, Thunder-Kit-Kat; the url was supposedly changed to ‘its-nott-thatt-serious’ and has since been deactivated. Instead of asking someone with the knowledge of fan fiction to consult on the show, they chose to be incredibly creepy and manipulative by essentially catfishing a bunch of teenage girls.
The episode in question is written by a man, Sam Levinson, who is also the creator of the show. I think it’s especially disappointing that HBO allowed this to happen and that there is no way that this wasn’t intentional. The show features clips of the blog, the one on the right is from a screenshot I took from “Made You Look”, the third episode of the season. There’s no mistake that manipulating teenage girls to get ‘more authentic’ content was what the creator and the show intended to do. Considering the limited media coverage (the Popsugar article I linked above is the only one I could find), I’d be surprised if anything happened as a result of this, but I think that Sam Levinson should lose his job over this and so should whatever HBO executive okayed this approach. But, Euphoria is a show about teenagers, mostly girls, and created by adults, mostly men, so who will be shocked if it all gets swept under the rug?
I had the pleasure of seeing Ophelia, alongside a Q&A with Daisy Ridley. I really enjoyed this reimagining of Shakespeare because of its refreshing understanding of age and the YA audience. I wrote up the Q&A for FF2 Media, you can read it here. I’m particularly excited for her next project, a film about Virginia Hall and hope to read A Woman of No Importance, the biography on which it’s based. (4/5)
This film is definitely underrated. Like Atomic Blonde, this film is about a female Russian spy who kicks ass, and although the action scenes don’t measure up to Charlize Theron’s, the plot is more intricate and much more satisfying. I found it wonderful to watch a female spy whose mission isn’t to seek revenge through violence, rather Anna searches for her freedom, while doing the job she has to do. — And speaking of underrated, Helen Mirren plays a soviet spy, rounding out her amazing action career. (4/5)
I have a review coming soon of The Chambermaid, directed by Lila Aviles. I highly recommend it! The film works to reinvent slow cinema for today, breaking into a new landscape of activism through silence and duration. It’s currently playing at Film Forum in NYC. Look out for my review on FF2! (4.5/5)
Other Stuff I’ve Been Watching, Things On My Watchlist, & Things I’m Excited For
Dynasty, Riverdale, All American, Spiderman: Far From Home, The Edge of Democracy, Roswell, Good Trouble, A Million Little Things, Friday Night Lights, Preacher, Younger, Grey’s Anatomy, Schitt’s Creek, Good Girls
Felicity, Claws, Mistresses, Fallen, Assassination Nation, Pen15, The Year of Spectacular Men, Let The Sunshine In, Pose
Stuber, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, The Farewell, The Art of Self Defense, Sword of Trust, Dear White People Vol. 3, Midsommar, Pearson, Bachelor in Paradise
What’s Coming Up In NYC
50th Mixtape Free Screenings — Lincoln Center in Manhattan
I also saw Cleo from 5 to 7 and The Portrait of a Lady last Thursday as part of 50th Mixtape, a free series by Film at Lincoln Center. You can read more about the series and my thoughts here. (3.5/5 and 3/5) I recommend these screenings because they’re free, every Thursday night, and it’s a lineup of good films! Here’s the link for the full lineup! I’m particularly excited for the Nocturama and Burning double feature!
Keanu: The Works — Nitehawk Cinemas in Brooklyn
Escape in New York: Free Movies on Governors Island — NYC
This short series is also put on by Film at Lincoln Center along with The Trust for Governor’s Island. The series is pretty small, but worth it for the $3 round-trip ferry ticket. I saw School of Rock in June and it was a super fun experience! The upcoming films are After Hours (1985) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). Here’s the schedule.
This is Cinema Now: 21st Century Debuts — Lincoln Center in Manhattan
I’m particularly excited for this series and the similar series at BAM below. Film at Lincoln Center’s version screens directorial debuts made after 2000 of filmmakers that are shaping the current landscape of cinema. It’s a cool way to see the first feature from a now more established filmmaker like Berry Jenkins, Damien Chazelle, or Lucretia Martel. Or you can go see a more established film, like Get Out or Donnie Darko. Even better, you can see 2 movies for the price of 1 at any of the paired screenings. It runs from July 19th to the 31st. Here’s the full lineup.
We Can’t Even: Millennials on Film
excited to see Minding the Gap and Jinn
A Summer Movie Under the Stars — Prospect Park, Brooklyn
The Prospect Park Alliance in partnership with Nitehawk Cinema is putting on films in the park! This year’s focus is on female voices in cinema; each film is either written or directed by a woman. The three films –Brave (2012), Love and Basketball (2000), and Babe: Pig in the City (1998)- screen on the last three Wednesdays of July. More here and here.
Intimate Epics at BAM
with jeanne dielman!
Representation Matters — Nitehawk in Williamsburg, NYC
Includes my fav Brigsby Bear
Films on the Green Festival — Around NYC
9 to 5 and Death Becomes Her
Cinevista — Nitehawk in Williamsburg, NYC
July 10 to 31 at Nitehawk
Streetwise & Tiny — Manhattan, NYC
July 19 to 25 at Metrograph / Martin Bell in person
The Academy at Metrograph — Manhattan, NYC
Punks, Poets & Valley Girls: Women Filmmakers in 1980s America — BAM in Brooklyn
Valley Girl is one of my favorite.
Another Country: Outsider Visions of America — Film at Lincoln Center in Manhattan
This series looks great! It’s all about the perspective of filmmakers who aren’t from America, but decide to make films here. The series encompasses films from 1968 to 2013 and includes short films alongside features. It runs from August 2nd to the 14th. Here’s the full schedule.
That’s It For This Week!
Thanks for reading! Look out for upcoming posts and reviews!
If you have any suggestions or thoughts, write me a comment!