Lindsey's March 2020 Media Diary

Focus Features

It's time for another edition of Lindsey's Media Diary! Missed the last installments? Check out what I watched in January and February.

As you know, coronavirus has caused us all to go into an indefinite hibernation of sorts; I've been working from home since Friday the 13th (fitting) and I'm doing...okay, given the circumstances. But I have a lot to be thankful for: my job is secure, I have plenty of food and live in a good spot with a park across the street to walk in, and I'm staying connected with my friends and family despite social distancing.

But enough about that, you are here to know what I've been watching!

Given how much I've been at home, you may be surprised that this list isn't incredibly extensive. I've made my way through a few TV shows on my list (send any other recs my way, please) but I've also been going back to familiar shows that bring me comfort, like 30 Rock and The Sopranos. Between that and Goodfellas, I'v found a lot of comfort in the gangster genre...not sure what that's about...


Onward (2020)

Will Pixar's Onward be the last movie I see in a theater in 2020? For now, that may be the case, as major blockbusters continue to get pulled from the 2020 slate each day. A Pixar movie is always reliable for a charming story and plenty of feels, and oof, Onward knew how to tug on the heart strings. I expected the daddy issues feelings (the trailer reveals it's about two brothers trying to reconnect with their dead father for just one day) but the brothers/siblings feelings are what really got to me. I have two brothers, after all, and by the time I saw this movie coronavirus stuff was getting just real enough to make me miss them a lot.

I wouldn't say this is my favorite Pixar movie or even in my top 5, but it's worth the watch, and will be on Disney+ starting April 3 so you may as well check it out.

Goodfellas (1990)

I have a goal to catch up on some classic movies that I've never seen during this quarantine period, and first on my list was Goodfellas. As I mentioned, I have a strong appreciation for mob movies, and wow, am I mad that I just got around to watching this masterpiece (well, aside from one time my mom and I were watching a bit of Goodfellas on cable TV but she made us change the channel before the "Layla" scene because I was too young). 

I don't think I need to tell anyone that Martin Scorsese is a tremendous filmmaker, but I was still blown away by the way this movie captures the highs and lows of the gangster life. 

If, like me, Goodfellas has been on your list, get over to Netflix pronto and make the time to watch this. 

Emma. (2020)

Clueless is one of the most influential movies in my life, so that is a tough act to follow, adaptation-wise. Obviously Autumn de Wilde's 2020 adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel is a more faithful retelling, but still!

No matter, I adored this movie, from the confectionery costume and production design to the biting satire of Regency England society. I have a soft spot for any and all costume dramas and period pieces, as well as movies centered on unruly, imperfect women, so Emma. was a match made in heaven. My only regret is not watching this sooner so I could see it on the big screen. 

TV Shows

Devs (season 1)

When I realize that Devs started less than a month ago, I truly grasp how long this month has been. The visuals and style of Alex Garland's first television project are stunning, capturing both the high-tech beauty and the staggering wealth gap of San Francisco in a way that is singularly compelling. The story is mysterious and the themes at play are universal (perhaps even multiversal), and while the lead actress's performance can fall flat at times, Nick Offerman's Forest (a rugged, weathered Jeff Bezos plagued by tragedy) is a captivating character that keeps your attention. 

Westworld (season 3)

Despite all of Westworld's frustrations and self-importance, I still find it a fun Sunday evening watch and am intrigued by the third season's soft reboot. After two seasons in the titular park, our host heroines have entered the real world and have made new friends (hello, Aaron Paul and Vincent Cassel). There are still mysterious characters with secret stories and questions over who is a host and who is human (and who is dancer?) along with intriguing ideas about free will, so I'll stick around. 

Dollface (season 1)

Hulu has become my go-to for post-Girls twenty- to thirty-something content. First there was Shrill, then High Fidelity, and now Dollface. Dollface is by far the quirkiest of the bunch (think Broad City meets JD's daydreams from Scrubs) but it was a fine enough way to pass a few hours watching television. It also perfectly satirizes the precise mystique of the millennial brand of girl boss culture and the vain brand of consumerist feminism that is infused within these hip companies, and for that, I am grateful.

Curb Your Enthusiasm (seasons 4 and 5)

I continue to make my way through Larry David's hilarious comedy. It's providing a great reprieve from the stress of everyday living, so I'm trying to savor the seasons and not binge my way through all at once.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (seasons 1-3)

Upon being largely confined to my apartment, I knew the first thing I had to watch: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. My mom has been bugging me to start watching this series ever since it first premiered on Amazon Prime, and I knew that between the costumes, the plucky heroine, and the iconic supporting actors (Tony Shalhoub is seriously underrated) I would enjoy the series; I just never was in the right mood to watch...until now.

My mom was right. The characters are wonderful, in all their quirks and flaws. The comedy routines are hilarious. And oh, the costumes. The costumes! The show made me yearn for a time when it was normal to wear full skirts and gloves and matching hats. Seeing as how we are all living in our pajamas 24/7 and for the foreseeable future, though, I'm going to take a wild guess and say we will not be returning to the styles of the 50s anytime soon. Oh well.

I Am Not Okay With This (season 1)

Billed as Stranger Things meets The End of the F***ing World (this show's creators come from those aforementioned series) I was ready for this series to charm just like those other shows did. Unfortunately, I was not impressed.

With just seven thirty-minute episodes, this was a quick weekend binge, but not an enjoyable one. The main character, played by Molly Ringwald incarnate (aka Sophia Lillis) was awkward but not in a redeeming way, and downright bratty to practically everyone around her as she deals with the tragic death of her dad and budding telekinetic powers, as well as questions about her sexuality.

This could have been a strong coming of age tale, but the characters were flat cliches (again, there were only a few hours to build up these characters) and the climactic moment in the finale felt unearned. It was also a rather horrifying image, so don't be fooled by the cutesy teen drama feel of the trailer; this is a horror story. I won't be tuning in to the inevitable season 2.

Tiger King

You didn't seriously think I made it through March without watching the most talked about series of the month, did you? After seeing countless memes and jokes about a mullet-clad man named Joe Exotic, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. 

Look, Tiger King is absolutely batshit. Every time you meet a character and you think, "That's it, that's the craziest person in this story," another person is introduced who puts the previous interviewee to shame. I found this hick-noir docuseries to be fascinating, for a time. Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin, Doc Antle, and the rest of these big cat lovers are all insane and power hungry, and their rivalries and bizarre backstories were enough to keep me watching.

However, I couldn't help but feel my attention focus on the ones without power; the volunteers and impressionable young workers who got roped into working for these lunatics, often with little pay and expired Walmart meat as their only rewards. The fact that the most sane person of the whole series was a man whose legs shattered in a zip lining accident speaks volumes.

At the end of the day, I understood the spectacle of Tiger King, but that was all it was: empty spectacle free from true analysis or critique of the subjects. The actual film making was disjointed and at times repetitive, as if the documentarians decided to throw all that they had filmed together without real thought into what exactly they were trying to say. Obviously this is of little importance to them or Netflix, as Tiger King was without a doubt the cultural phenomenon of a world starved for new pop culture, but I found myself feeling worn out and bored with the series' shallowness.