My Weekend in Pop Culture

These are the pop culture items I consumed this weekend.  It was another busy weekend, so I didn’t do much media consumption.  Without further ado:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I’ve been listening to this on audiobook, and it is pure, unadulterated pleasure.  It’s probably my favorite of all Rowell’s books, just in terms of sheer enjoyability.  Listening to it when Zoey and I take our walks or when I’m stuck in traffic on the way home from work has been just the best distraction.  I don’t want it to end, but I have less than 30 minutes left.  What’s interesting is that I’ve also been reading Landline at the same time, and while it is good and smart, it pales in comparison to Fangirl.  I think that’s really, really interesting.

At any rate, it’s one of those books I want to live inside of.  I don’t know what to do when I’m done, because I’ll be in this haze where nothing else I read is it.  Depressing and amazing.

 

Gilmore Girls Season 3: I’ve been doing a Gilmore Girls rewatch, and I’m firmly entrenched in the ggthird season, which is my all-time hands-down favorite season.  The story is the strongest here, I think.  I love so many of the episodes, including “Take the Deviled Eggs,” “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” and “Dear Emily and Richard.”  It’s a stellar season on a very good show, and I love getting to revisit it.

I wish I could say the same for J., who tolerates it being on but often leaves the room.  It’s just not his thing, at all.

What pop culture did you consume this weekend?

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

These are the things I’ve been reading and thinking about this week.

Libraries are not a “Netflix for Books” (Book Riot)

Kelly Jensen is right: libraries are not a Netflix for books by definition of what libraries do:

Libraries — at least public libraries in the U.S. and Canada — are not private companies. Their goals are not on profit and not built upon those who can afford to pay for the services. Rather, public libraries are one of the few institutions where any and all citizens, regardless of their income or abilities to pay, may receive equitable access and service.

So yes, go read this and think about it, please.

I’m Sorry For Coining the Term Manic Pixie Dreamgirl (Salon)

Rabin is the man who actually coined the ubiquitous term, and this essay, which is really thoughtful and illuminating, talks about how that term has been completely overtaken by culture writers and no longer stands for what it should stand for.  My gut reaction, before reading the full article, was to be like, “NO YOU SHOULDN’T APOLOGIZE FOR GIVING A NAME TO A SEXIST, AWFUL TROPE” but then I actually read the article (that helps, yeah?) and realized that what he’s saying is true and real and that we need to move away from using the phrase as a crutch and instead focus on writing more fully-realized female characters, always.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to pop culture: I’m sorry for creating this unstoppable monster…Let’s all try to write better, more nuanced and multidimensional female characters: women with rich inner lives and complicated emotions and total autonomy, who might strum ukuleles or dance in the rain even when there are no men around to marvel at their free-spiritedness.

The only part we might disagree on is when he lauds John Green, but we know I’m biased.  Because, blech.

Why Nathan Rabin Shouldn’t Apologize for the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Trope (Bibliodaze)

And now, for something completely different!  This article (smart and thoughtful, too) points out that just by getting rid of the term doesn’t mean we get rid of the sexist, lazy writing that creates these limp female characters:

If we were to eliminate every word or term used for incorrectly by ignorant readers or just those trying to make a faulty point then nobody would ever write anything new. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope will continue on as long as lazy writers continue to use familiar crutches to tell their stories. Maybe we can retire the term when film, TV, literature and everything else moves beyond it. Then we can perhaps get on with wiping out the other terrible stereotypes.

What Wisconsin Girls Think About the Slenderman Stabbings (Vice)

Last week, I linked to a moving essay that Kathleen Hale wrote for Random House Canada, and today I’m linking to an essay she wrote for Vice about the Slenderman stabbings in Wisconsin (I kind of love her non-fiction writing in a way I didn’t love her debut novel).  It’s not a very long article, and it’s definitely worth your time whether you’re following the case or not, because it also examines girl culture and how hard it is to be a teen/preteen girl in America these days.

Well worth your time.  Depressing, but important.

What got you reading and thinking this week?

Movie News and Randomness

Ready for another installment of movie news?  Here’s the movie stuff that’s got me excited or apathetic this week.

1. Wild Trailer

I don’t really feel like I have to give this one much of a summary or introduction.  It’s based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, which has been sitting on my iPad for months and which I still haven’t read.  Reese Witherspoon stars.  I will see it, but probably not until its digital download release.

2. Box Office Woes: Age and Gender Gap Fueling Summer Decline 

Or, you know, the fact that everything has been complete shit.  But truthfully, the fact that fewer males are flocking to theaters and Hollywood still hasn’t figured out that women drive much of the box office means that it’s been a pretty lackluster summer for movies.  Whatever.  More female films, please.  (THR)

3. Laggies Trailer

The film stars Keira Knightley as a mid-twenties screw up who panics when her boyfriend proposes.  She goes to live with her new 16-year-old friend, played by Chloe Grace-Moretz.  It looks…interesting?

4. Netflix won’t ship or process your DVDs on Weekends

Wait, people still use the DVD option? (Cinema Blend)

5. New Gone Girl Trailer

Because why not?  I know I’ve posted a trailer for this, or at least I think I have?  I know I’ll see this one because I’m curious about how the ending has changed.  I can’t wait for the internet backlash on that one.  The internet loves a good backlash (and so do I!).

What movie news got you excited this week?

My Weekend in Pop Culture

After a break last week, My Weekend in Pop Culture is back.  Here’s what pop culture I consumed this weekend.

happyHappy Christmas: The latest mumblecore offering from Joe Swanberg, was released this week, and I snatched it up as fast as I could.  It’s no secret that the mumblecore genre is one that works for me (but not so much for J., who sat through Swanberg’s Drinking Buddies with me but passed on this one).  At any rate, this one starred Anna Kendrick and Melanie Lynskey, and I kind of loved it.  Like his other movies, it’s not about much nor does that much happen: a guy’s (Swanberg) sister (Kendrick) moves in with him and his wife (Lynskey) and is generally a screwup.  But the film’s naturalness when it comes to the actors and their interactions is where it really shines.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell: I started Rowell’s latest book, out this past week.  It’s adult fiction, and it’s pretty good, just like all her novels.  It’s early, but I’m enjoying it quite a bit.  Georgie McCool writes for TV and has the break of a lifetime the week before Christmas.  Instead of going back to Omaha with her husband Neal and their two children, she chooses to stay in LA and work, causing a huge rift between her and her husband.  So imagine her surprise when she finds out that by using the landline phone she had as a youngster allows her to connect to the Neal of her past.

Gilmore Girls, Season 2

I’ve been rewatching Gilmore Girls for the umpteenth time, and it is pure pleasure for me.  I can’t explain it.  I just love it.  It’s the ultimate comfort TV viewing.

What pop culture did you consume this weekend?

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

I took last week off because of the holiday, so here are the things I collected from the past two weeks that got me thinking.

Prey (Random House)

This piece, written by Kathleen Hale, is not an easy read.  But it’s a powerful, important one.  I visibly recoiled when I read this:

I lost a lot of friends that year, in part because I wanted to tell everyone about the trial. Boys fetishized me, thinking they could reintroduce me to sex, which I had never learned to hate—or else they pulled my head to their chests, kissing my hair, like they were enacting some paternalistic movie moment. In general, I think hearing what had happened made recently-deflowered Harvard boys feel like sexy dads.

This piece is long and upsetting, but it’s also extremely well done and well worth your time.  Hat tip to my sister, who sent it my way.

 Your Female Characters Are So Strong (The Toast)

This humorous (I mean, kind of) piece just takes the phrase “your female characters are so strong” and runs with it.  Mallory Ortberg is awesome, and this short piece helps illustrate just why that is.  Also, if you haven’t, start reading the article tags on the pieces at The Toast, because they are amazing (“Feminism sort of!” and “some quotes from Job and some from Paradise Lost I think”).

90 One-Hit Wonders of the 90s (Salon)

I sent a link of this to my best friend with just the word “AHHH” because that’s how exciting something like this is to me, a lover of lists and all things nostalgic, especially when it comes to 90s music.  She and I regularly (like, nearly weekly) drink wine and watch YouTube videos on our giant TVs together, so this is the perfect sort of thing to dissect together (and apart).

What’s amazing about a list like this is that it’s automatically polarizing by claiming to be definitive.  I can’t wait to really delve into a nostalgia hole with it.

A Reluctant Star, Sia, Deals With Fame on Her Own Terms (NPR)

I’m obsessed with Sia’s latest single, “Chandelier,” so when I stumbled across this NPR interview after watching her performance on Ellen where she sang live facing the corner away from the cameras, I was super intrigued.  Basically, Sia doesn’t want to be that kind of famous (she writes pop songs for other singers and prefers to make her living that way).  And she has the privilege of being able to deal with fame (or avoidance of it) in her own way, which makes her a total bad-ass.

It’s definitely an alienating approach, which is probably why I like it and respect it so much.  Plus, she had this to say about the whole thing:

“I’m trying to have a good life,” she says as we look at the wigs, which symbolize her fame and what she’s doing to escape that fame, all at once. “Basically, my plan is to enjoy what I have.”

What got you thinking this week?

June 2014 Recap

Can you believe June is already over?  Don’t you hate it when people say that?!

Reading:

Best Book of the Month: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Books Read: 21
Adult: 6
YA:  15
MG: 0
Children’s: 0
Fiction: 19
Non-fiction/Memoir: 0
Graphic Novel: 2
# of Pages Read: 5160

Thoughts on June’s Reading:

  • I’m still not reading any non-fiction.  I’m going to chalk this up to summer, but I’m not sure I can really use that as an excuse.
  • I’m really alternating between adult and YA titles, which is nice.  Almost everything that I get from the library in physical book form is adult, because my library systems YA selection is a JOKE.
  • Although I’m still plugging along on my recapping of Sweet Valley High novels for my other blog, I’m not as into it as I was before, which is why my numbers are lower this month.

Watching:

TV:

Much as I’d like to, I’m not obsessively tracking what TV show episodes I watch and when.  So this will be mostly bullet points.

  • I’m still firmly ensconced in my Covert Affairs love affair.  It’s silly, a little stupid, and definitely far-fetched, but it’s good summer TV.  J. agrees that Annie might be the WORST spy ever.
  • We’re also sort of digging the new showMurder in the First.  That’s one I can get J. to watch weekly.
  • Other weekly staples for me include my loves Switched at Birth and The Fosters.

Movies:

obvious childBest Movie(s) of the Month: Obvious Child

Movies Watched: 8
New: 6
Re-Watch: 2
Theater Trips: 3

  • I was up a few this month, with three trips to the theater.
  • Obvious Child was the winner by far this month, but I also enjoyed That Awkward Moment and They Came Together.

Goals for July:

  • Continue reading and watching diverse things.  Keep up with keeping track.  Try to squeeze in a few more movies.

Happy reading and watching, readers!

My Weekend in Pop Culture

As per the last few weeks, these are the pop culture items I consumed this weekend.

obvious childObvious Child: I know I talked about this movie on one of my movie news posts, and I finally had the chance to see it this weekend.  It was GREAT.  Like, probably my favorite movie of the year.

The premise is simple: a young comedian gets dumped, fired, and then pregnant from a drunken one-night stand.  She decides to have an abortion, and the film chronicles all those things in a really straightforward, funny way.

Very smart, very funny, very sweet.  Jenny Slate is brilliant and I’m totally in love with her now.  If you have a chance to see it, definitely go.

SIa – Chandelier

I just discovered this video, and I’m officially obsessed with it.  I love the song, but I also love the video itself.  The girl who dances in it is apparently from the TV show Dance Moms, and she’s spectacular.  The choreography is really interesting and the entire thing is done super well.

 What pop culture did you consume this weekend?

Movie News and Randomness

I’m a little behind in reading, which means I don’t have any reviews ready to go.  But that’s never stopped me from blogging!  So here is some movie news I’m pumped and/or apathetic about this week!

1. Dear White People Trailer

This sharp satire has gotten a lot of good buzz, and this teaser trailer seems to be doing that buzz justice, because I can’t wait to see it.  It’s going to piss a lot of people off (good), but it also looks pretty great.

2. I guess Prometheus 2 is a Thing Happening?

This article is really about Guy Pearce wanting in on the action, but did anyone know that this was a thing happening? I guess I just figured the backlash to the first one was so bad that it would fade into obscurity, but silly me–if there is money to be squeezed from us, there is a film to make. (Cinema Blend)

3. The Good Lie Trailer

There are things inherently problematic with this movie already: it’s definitely a white savior narrative, which, can we please move past already?  But it’s also about some of the Lost Boys of Sudan, and I’m willing to entertain the fact that this movie is going to be completely conventional and manipulative because it will also raise awareness to people who have no idea what has happened and is happening in Sudan.  Whatever.  It stars Reese Witherspoon and the trailer made me tear up because I know I’m being manipulated but I’m also powerless in the face of it.

4. Here are some Mockingjay posters

Because I don’t have anything else for you, and because why not? (Screen Rant)

5. About Alex Trailer 

I mean, the movie is dubbed “The Big Chill” for millennials and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a description so apropos.  It’s exactly what it is, and I am exactly the demographic, and I cannot wait to see it.

My Weekend in Pop Culture

In keeping with last week’s tradition, here’s the pop culture I consumed this weekend.  We had a pretty busy weekend (it’s wedding season, y’all), but I managed to get in some quality time with these pop culture gems:

covert affairsCovert Affairs: J. and I started watching the first season of this a while ago, but got distracted and sort of fell off the wagon.  I started back up again this week, and something about it clicked for me.  It’s definitely Alias-lite, but it works for me on several levels: it’s light enough for summer consumption, Piper Perabo is serviceable as the lead, and the fact that it’s sort of silly but knows it makes it just enjoyable enough.

At any rate, I made it through the first season and now am well into the second.  I love me some female-driven TV shows, and it doesn’t hurt that Christopher Gorham turned into a total babe.

Robyn & Royksopp – “Do It Again” EP

The video is for the song “Sayit,” which isn’t necessarily my favorite off the EP, but it’s the only one with a video (that I can find).  The title track is actually my favorite, and it’s well worth your time to seek it out.  I love Robyn and I’ll take her in any form, including in this collaboration EP.

That Awkward Moment: I finally got around to watching this movie, and I have to say that I actually really liked it.  Like, laughed out loud, hard, several times.  It helps that I love Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller more than pretty much anything (okay, that’s hyperbolic).  But it was actually a pretty funny diversion this weekend.  I enjoyed it greatly.

What pop culture did you consume this weekend?

 

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

These are the articles I’ve been reading and thinking about this week.

The Tortured History of Entertainment Weekly (The Awl)

This is a piece of long form journalism, and it is really long, but it’s also incredibly interesting.  In the piece, Anne Helen Peterson details the rise and decline of Entertainment Weekly (a magazine I still subscribe to, and have, for more than a decade).  It’s incredibly interesting for anyone who has ever perused the magazine, but it’s especially fascinating for those who like entertainment journalism or have (or had) a vested interest in the magazine itself.  The parts that worked especially well for me were about the late 90s-early 00s, as those were my adolescent years.

The article focuses a great deal on the tension between the magazine’s journalists and the industry at large.  Because EW originally started as a magazine unafraid to take a critical eye to Hollywood, the relationships between it and studios and Hollywood folks has been a strained one.

The editorial maxim was a simple one: Write the best story. Don’t worry about who owns the product, or even if it’s a popular one—just cover it in a way that’s compelling. That maxim was what gave EW its unique critical voice and, more importantly, its incredibly loyal readership. Over the course of the 90s and early 2000s, protecting that voice engendered more and more conglomerate animosity.

At any rate, it’s a really interesting piece and well worth your time if you have about 20 minutes or so.

A Meditation on Britney’s “…Baby One More Time” (The Toast)

If you aren’t reading The Toast regularly, you should be, because it’s pretty much my favorite thing on the internet.  At any rate, this interesting, thought-provoking and melancholic piece has stuck with me, and will, I think, continue to stick with me for a while.  Part dissection of Britney Spears’s most iconic song and part meditation on the author’s life, it’s a piece I could relate to while also being completely riveted by the prose.

But to my mind, “…Baby One More Time” speaks as keenly about the loneliness of love as any other artifact of our culture—it’s not about losing someone but the impossibility of ever really having them. “When I’m not with you, I lose my mind,” Spears sings. “Give me a sign.” Romantic love doesn’t lessen the opacity of other people’s thoughts and motivations; it heightens it, because the desire to know and inhabit the beloved’s mind is so great…I’m convinced that I’m not reading too much into the song or overcomplicating—pop music can speak deep truths because it is simple, because the truest truths are simple.

Probably why this works for me so well is because I love any writing about pop culture that also intertwines personal experience.  It’s my kryptonite.  All the same, this piece is excellent.

“Game of Thrones” Fails the Female Gaze: Why Does Prestige TV Refuse to Cater Erotically to Women? (Slate)

I don’t have  a ton to say about this one, but I will say that this article gets to the center of what I find so frustrating about TV and movies when it comes to issues of “male gaze” versus “female gaze.”  It’s a smart piece.