Written by Lindsey Cook
You know what it is! Everything I watched and read in February, right this way!
Malcolm & Marie (2021, dir. Sam Levinson)
Technically, this film is wonderful. The production design (that house!), the costumes (that dress!), the performances, the cinematography, the music cues...it's all wonderful. And yet, I found myself wondering several times how much time was left on this two hour movie, and even ended up watching some of it in 1.5x speed because the arguments between the two characters droned on and on and on. For a two-hander fight like this to work as a feature-length film, you need some nuance, and for me, the conflict felt so one-sided that I wasn't sure what more there was to tell with half the movie still to go. There wasn't a last-minute twist or revelation that complicated anything...just two people, yelling each other's names a lot (a hint to screenwriters, if you only show two characters and they are named in the title of the film, we probably don't need them to repeatedly say their names...).
To All The Boys: Always & Forever (2021, dir. Michael Fimognari)
I think I fell out of love with Peter Kavinsky, or more appropriately, Noah Centineo ruined my love for the fictional Peter. Also, John Ambrose was the better guy for Lara Jean and I'm still bitter about that second movie.
Minari (2020, dir. Lee Isaac Chung)
A sweet, touching portrayal of an American family trying to find their place in the world. Also, I hope Alan Kim becomes a big star because this interview is already iconic.
Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar (2021, dir. Josh Greenbaum)
I'm so glad I knew next to nothing going into this movie, because nothing could have prepared me for how whacky and zany this movie was. It's incredible. Jamie Dornan is at his peak. Fifty Shades who? I want "Seagulls in the Sand" forever.
Nomadland (2021, dir. Chloe Zhao)
I was surprised by how moved I was by this film, but it really is a stunning achievement. Chloe Zhao deserves all the awards, and I don't mean that hyperbolically. She not only directed Nomadland but also wrote and edited the film. I love how she brought real people—real nomads—into the fictional story of Fern (Frances McDormand) and blended fiction and nonfiction to create a truly remarkable work. The vistas of the American landscape are breathtaking and foreboding, exactly how they feel when experienced in real life. In a moment where I'm stuck at home and itching to explore once more, this movie made me want to hit the road and experience the natural beauty in this country. More poignantly though are the portrayals of nomads, their feelings of abandonment by the government, capitalism, life...the balance between hopelessness and hopefulness can be a hard line to walk, but Nomadland finds a way to portray both sides of this life with empathy.
Judas and the Black Messiah (2021, dir. Shaka King)
A fascinating and heartbreaking look at the assassination of Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton. Daniel Kaluuya is rightfully getting a lot of awards buzz for his charismatic performance as Hampton, but LaKeith Stanfield nails the anxiety and paranoia of between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place Bill O'Neal. The score of this movie is also really captivating, using jarring sounds and riffs to draw attention to the mounting chaos of the situation.
The Super Bowl
Not the same without dozens of friends overloading on spinach dip with me. I liked The Weeknd's performance!
Call My Agent (seasons 1 - 4)
I wish I could spend more time with these lovable French assholes. I love how this series never shied away from showing that filmmaking is always an act of compromise between art and commerce. Sure, there are romantic views of Paris and extravagant Cannes parties (honestly, if you want just a taste of Call My Agent, watch the Cannes episode) but this show never pretends that the film industry is a purely noble profession, and I value the honesty and how that didn't necessarily negate the love for the business. These agents know filmmaking isn't easy and without its compromises, but at the end of the day, they can't get enough of it.
Bachelor In Paradise (season 3)
I needed some real escapist reality television since this season of The Bachelor has been a total disappointment in so many ways, and since I'm relatively new to watching the franchise, everyone has told me Bachelor in Paradise is way fun. It is! And I love that there are multiple relationships to get invested in instead of just trying to figure out who the one lead is going to choose.
Miscellaneous Modern Family episodes
What a great show. Perfect quarantine comfort watching.
Watching Week to Week: WandaVision, Superstore, The Bachelor, Prodigal Son