Amanda Gates

What I've Been Watching, Fall 2015 Edition

Inside/Out: I didn’t get a chance to see this in the theater but finally got to watch it this past weekend now that it’s out on Vudu. It’s a sweet story and there are so many things to love about it. I love that it takes place in a girl’s brain. I love that it looks into the complicated parts of the brain, like memory and subconscious and all those things we DO and DON’T remember.

I love the message that we can’t be happy all the time (and I love Joy’s journey to discover this truth) and that we oftentimes need the sadness to make the happiness. I also loved how it visually shows how becoming too sad or too depressed can literally erase the good memories or the happy times from your brain – and how you have to REALLY work to get those back.

Oftentimes in life I feel like a Joy – someone who dances a jig just to make the people around me happy or get out of their funk. But I also know how important it is to be sad and how sadness shapes who you are, too. Great movie.

Wild (movie): I read Wild a while ago, but just recently watched the film. And it was fine. I think Reese Witherspoon gave a good effort to be raw and depressed, but I did not totally buy her as Strayed. The movie seems to just touch on all the messages in the book (and I liked, but didn’t love, the book) but not enough to make it very meaningful. Again, it was fine.

Sonic Highways (series): We love the Foo Fighters in our house, so this was an amazingly enjoyable eight hours. Even if Dave and the band are researching their influences in the eight different cities, you still learn a whole freakin’ lot about music history. I honestly feel it’s a great docuseries that everyone (music buffs) should watch – whether you’re a Foo fan or not. Dave asks good questions and dives deep into some great or unknown parts of music history. I loved the Nashville and New Orleans episodes a ton. Austin comes in a close third.

Sonic Highways the album kicks ass, too.

Veep: Oh my gosh, this show. I consumed the first four seasons as quickly as I could. It is so hilarious, if only for the way it perfectly curses. I’ve watched West Wing, House of Cards and now this and Veep is the perfect in between. It’s perfectly ridiculous, with a bit of West Wing’s sincerity and a bit of House of Cards corruption. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a rock start, and her supporting cast is a dream. I cannot wait for season 5.

Girls: Huh. I may be too old for this show. I watched Sex in the City pretty much as it aired. I think I dug that show so much because the women were older than me, and more glamorous. They also were really good friends to each other. But these Girls? I roll my eyes at them and I find them so self-absorbed; I sometimes want to kick Hannah in the teeth. And Marni. Plus, they’re AWFUL friends to each other. Just awful. That is not how I know friendship.

I fall on the cusp of Gen X and Millennial and I don’t see myself in any of these Girls.

The Comeback: This was a fun way to get back in touch with a ‘Friend.’ Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish is pretty phenomenal. It’s often painful to watch, as she tries to stand up for herself against mean people, and really sad to watch her get screwed over when she’s just trying to make her “comeback.” But there’re many, many funny parts – and it’s an interesting look at how TV is made.

The Martian (book and movie): I quickly read The Martian before we went to see the movie. I really enjoyed the book. It was engaging and pretty thrilling and could keep me on the edge of my seat. I only skimmed a bit at the beginning when there was a lot of technical talk that meant nothing to me.

The movie was also really good. I wondered how they would get his fear and frustration across without being able to use all the book’s swearing, but the movie did a good job. I liked all the actors, too. They fit the parts. There was excitement throughout and lots of humor. I was a little disappointed (as often am with books-to-movies) that certain parts I found important to the story were left out. And also I didn’t love the changes to the ending – but can totally see WHY they would up the excitement factor for the ending of a movie.

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