January felt like a big month for movies, and looking at the list I thought there would be more, especially as we approach Oscar night, as Ali and I like to see all of the Best Picture nominations (we’ve seen six of the nine so far).
I’ve also decided that I want to try and write more, so I started a monthly newsletter where I will share (new to me) songs that I came across the previous month that I enjoyed. You can sign up for Downbeat here.
Uncut Gems – Just to start off, I truly feel that the Sandman was robbed of an Oscar nomination. This movie is an anxiety roller coaster ride and great character acting.
Parasite – Wow. This may be my favorite 2019 movie (even though I saw it in 2020). I don’t see a lot of subtitled movies, but I’m glad I saw this in theaters when I did. This movie lives up to the hype, and should hopefully take home quite a few Oscars. I’d love to see it be the first foreign film to win Best Picture.
The Report – Watching movies like this is so infuriating to see how our government and agencies distort the laws and bend them to fit their narrative. The things – the war crimes – our country did in Iraq and Afghanistan under the guise of freedom are nothing sort of despicable. Adam Driver carried most of this movie and did a great job with what is essentially a slow-moving historical movie.
Joker – I had no interest in this movie, and then came the critical praise. And I still had no interest. Then came the award nominations. And then the awards. With 11 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture, Director, and Actor) I just had to see what the hell was going on. And yeah, I should have stuck with my initial no interest because this movie was bad. I tried to go into it with an open mind and remove all thoughts about the character (who I think is overrated and overused) and his history and story in the comics and I just couldn’t. Even if they took all of the comic book references out I think I still would have hated it.
Little Women – l knew nothing about this story going in except that they were all sisters, and it took place in England. I was 1 for 2 because it takes place in Massachusetts/New York City during the Civil War. I enjoyed the story, but it ended a little differently than I expected. I fully expected that the movie would end and we would be led to believe that Jo was gay, but it didn’t go that way. After talking with a friend and reading about the story online my thought of Jo being gay were not far-fetched.
The Farewell – Another movie that is heavily subtitled (but not a foreign film) was a great look at a Chinese family coming to terms with the matriarch of the family dying of cancer. The only thing is, the entire family knew of her illness, except her. Awkafina was really good in the movie, but Shuzhen Zhao totally stole the movie as the grandmother. This was her American film debut and had an amazing performance.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (S3) / Amazon Prime – I think the allure of this show wore off for me. I don’t think I would have stuck with this season if Ali wasn’t also watching it.
Bojack Horseman (S6 Pt. 1) / Netflix – This show has somehow come to be one of my favorites, though I don’t think this group of episodes was up to par with the previous seasons.
The Righteous Gemstones (S1) / HBO – I’ve been meaning to watch this, and finally sat down one weekend and binged it all. I’m not the biggest Danny McBride fan, so I was a bit hesitant. I was entertained while watching it, but found myself distracted at times. I’ll probably watch a second season.
Living With Yourself (S1) / Netflix – What’s better than a movie or show with Paul Rudd? A movie or show with TWO Paul Rudds. Pauls Rudd. Whatever. This show has a slightly little weird concept, but it is very fun and the way they tell the interwoven story is really great. I can’t wait to see where this goes in season two.
The Good Place (Finale) / NBC – I didn’t know what to think of this show when it first came out. I enjoyed the premiere after thinking the premise was silly. When I got to the second episode I wondered how they could keep this show going for multiple seasons, let alone a single season. Then the twist came and everything both made sense, and didn’t make sense. This was a great series full of laughs, morality, friendship, and just all-around a forking wholesome show. You can also watch the postshow interview with the cast here. It’s a must-watch for fans of the show.
- This Feels Convoluted / Partial Collapse (Essays in Brevity) by Arrows in Her (Apple Music / Spotify)
- Found Out About You by Punchline (Apple Music / Spotify)
- Wasted Days by Cloud Nothings (Apple Music / Spotify)
- Lana & Steve by The Donnas (Apple Music / Spotify)
- Two Weeks by Grizzly Bear (Apple Music / Spotify)
- Going to Brighton by Fresh (Apple Music / Spotify)
- Black Hills by Cayetana (Apple Music / Spotify)
- Scott, Get the Van, I’m Moving by Cayetana (Apple Music / Spotify)
- Deflector by Touché Amoré (Apple Music / Spotify)
- Let It Burn by Goat (Apple Music / Spotify)
- I’m Yer Dad by GRLwood (Apple Music / Spotify)
- If Your Song Title Has the Word “Beach” In It, I’m Not Listening to It by Dads (Apple Music / Spotify)
- 16:40 by Delta Sleep (Apple Music / Spotify)
I’m still working on the 2020 playlist, but it’s only two songs long at this point. Once it’s a little more filled out I’ll link to it. In the meantime, here are the playlists for the last two years:
- 2018: Apple Music / Spotify
- 2019: Apple Music / Spotify
I recently went mostly digital with my comics – I’m only buying physical copies of Superman and Daredevil comics since they are my two favorite superheroes. Since I went digital, I decided to sign up for Marvel Unlimited that lets you read hundreds of titles from their massive library. I will try to catalog the good series that I read in these posts.
The Infinity Gauntlet – Yes, I had never read the Infinity Gauntlet series. I didn’t want to before the amazing Infinity Saga from the MCU completed, so it just sat on a to-read list for years. Now that the Infinity Saga is behind us, I dove in. The comic series is quite different from the movies in a number of ways, the most obvious being the cast of characters and Thanos’ journey to collect the rings. It is definitely a more cosmic story and doesn’t involve as many Earthbound heroes as the MCU series does, but it was still a fun read. I followed this reading list which included more than just the core Infinity Gauntlet issues including mostly Silver Surfer comics. I did, however, skip some of the books where there was only a passing mention of the overall story.
The Eternals (Neil Gaiman / John Romita Jr.) – I know absolutely nothing about these characters (much like Guardians of the Galaxy before that first movie came out) and wanted to familiarize myself with it before this movie comes out in November of this year. It was interesting and expanded my knowledge of the vast Marvel Universe. I’m excited to see where they take the movie, and how the blows the scope of the MCU up. You can get the trade on Amazon here.
Fantastic Four (Jonathon Hickman) – Hopefully you know Jonathon Hickman’s name if you read comics. Anything he writes he has this way of reimagining and setting the stage for stories for years and years to come. I really wanted to read some Fantastic Four stories, and a co-worker recommended his run on Marvel’s first family. I didn’t need more convincing than hearing Hickman’s name. This is the reading list that I followed as I read the four-year run (starting with Mark Millar’s run who is always hit or miss for me).