Each weekend, I’ll share six cool finds. Some links may be referral/curator links.
Something about summer always makes me feel nostalgic. I’m not sure if it’s because my birthday is in the summer, or if it just evokes memories of summer vacation and those long, carefree days (why don’t adults get summers off? 😉 ).
I always get the urge to revisit some of my favorite movies during the summer, so I thought I’d run through a list of some of my favorite ’90s movies. I love ’80s movies, but there’s just something a ’90s teen drama. They’re the best!
I tried to keep horror/Halloween movies out of the list (otherwise Hocus Pocus would be at the top!). That’s a whole other blog post.
Grab a flannel, a Squeezit, and a VCR, and let’s get to it!
Tell me: What are your favorite ’90s movies? Or, what decade makes you feel the most nostalgic?
We’re back for another edition of Couch Life! I actually started this post well over a month ago, but then we hit the month of season finales and weren’t binge watching as many shows. Most of these are old news by now, but I still wanted to post a round up. Enjoy!
Santa Clarita Diet, Season 2. We watched the second season in its entirety on a lazy Saturday. I love this show, and I thought the second season was funnier than the first. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that suburban real-a-tors Shelia and Joel Hammond (played by Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, respectively) have their worlds rocked when Shelia becomes a zombie. Her previously submissive demeanor is now replaced by unstoppable confidence and energy–and a taste for human flesh. Joel tries his best to help support his wife’s new lifestyle, quickly becoming an accomplice while searching for a cure. It took me a while to warm up to Drew Barrymore’s character–nothing against Drew, but I wasn’t a fan of the sort of nonchalant flightiness epitomized by her character. I eventually warmed up to Shelia as events started to escalate. Plus I’ll watch anything with Timothy Olyphant, especially in a comedic role. Joel often tries to hold on to his simplistic worldview while rationalizing his wife’s actions, and his naive outlook is both charming and hilarious. The scene stealer though is the Hammond’s neighbor and daughter’s best friend, Eric Bemis, a nerdy kid who tries to do anything to impress their daughter Abby. Season two picks up right where the first one left off and continues to follow the Hammonds as they stumble through their new normal. Without giving too much away, we’re introduced to the existence of other undead and a Serbian conspiracy centered on a ball with legs. Notable guest stars include Thomas Lennon, Nathan Fillion, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, and Joel McHale. If you go watch it now, I promise to stop talking about it. If you are starting from the beginning, be warned–the first season features an epic puke scene, so probably don’t start it while you’re watching dinner.
Orphan Black, Season 6. It took us a while to get around to watching the final season of Orphan Black–I think I didn’t want to accept that the show was going to be finished. I don’t want to give any spoilers in case you’ve never seen it, but I’ll say that I was satisfied with how things ended up. It was a good season and a good finale–although I felt like they minimized Felix’s character over the last couple of seasons. If you’ve never seen Orphan Black, I highly recommend that you give it a watch. All of the seasons are available on Amazon Prime. The series starts off with Sarah Manning, played by Tatiana Maslany, witnessing a woman who looks exactly like her stepping in front of a train. Sarah later discovers she’s actually a clone. Maslany plays all of the clones, and she is phenomenal. Even six seasons in, I still had to stop sometimes and remind myself that all of the “seestras” were played by the same person. I think of them all as distinct and separate characters. We even named one of our cat’s after one of them! (Helena.)
Mom and Dad. I went into this movie with low expectations and they were wildly exceeded. From one of the minds that brought you Crank and Gamer, this horror flick probably isn’t for everyone. The basic premise is that a phenomena with an unknown cause suddenly causes parents to flip and develop an overwhelming urge to murder their children. They only target their own children, leaving everyone else alone. There’s a particularly dark scene, so if the concept doesn’t sound of interest to you, I’d skip it. It wasn’t super gory, which I always appreciate. I thought it was well paced and good at building suspense. I’d also classify it as a dark comedy. Nic Cage delivers with his trademark overacting. All in all, it was a fun, creepy watch.
BONUS: Ready Player One.
I started this post so long ago, right after we saw Ready Player One. Still, it’s worth mentioning. If for some reason you missed this in theaters, be sure to check it out once it’s released for rental in July. My husband and I had both read the book and weren’t sure if the movie would live up to our expectations. I quickly realized I needed to just separate the two and enjoy the movie for what it was. Quite a bit was changed, but that’s OK. It was extremely entertaining (I mean, it’s Spielberg–what do you expect?). If you’re a child of the 80s, you’ll love the references strewn throughout. If you haven’t read the book, I recommend it. If you have, let go of your expectations and let yourself be entertained. I read an interesting article about how the author, Ernest Cline, actually started on the screenplay before the book was even released, so many of the changes were intentional–he recognized that it’d be difficult to capture everything in the book on film, and there weren’t yet fans of the book to have any accountability to the original story. That made me feel better about the changes, too–I was hoping he was on board with everything and that it wasn’t altered against his will or vision. Check it out!
We’re back for another edition of Couch Life! We finally bought that new sofa (a recliner!), so we’ve been living the good life. Here are a few of the things we’ve watched this month:
Jessica Jones, Season 2. Jessica Jones was my favorite original series in Netflix’s foray into the Marvel universe. It’s been over two years since season one aired, so I was more than ready for season two. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite feel that it was worth the wait. Jessica is still my favorite character, and I enjoyed parts of the storyline, but too much emphasis on supporting characters had me losing interest. I didn’t feel invested until episode seven, and after a few strong episodes, things trailed off again. The absence of Kilgrave was also strongly felt–he was such an excellent antagonist in season one. It’s definitely worth watching if you enjoy the Marvel shows, and I’ll keep watching future seasons, but it just all fell a bit short for me (and this is coming from someone who liked Iron Fist!). I will say I love Krysten Ritter and I think she does a great job as Jessica; I also really like Jeryn Hogarth as a character. It’s still pretty fresh in my mind, so I wonder if I’ll grow more appreciative after some time passes, or if I watch it again. Sometimes my expectations are too high, so once I know what to expect, I can enjoy it more. I’d be curious to get your thoughts!
Recommended if you like: Any of the original Marvel shows on Netflix, Veronica Mars, Powers.
Mute. If you’ve been waiting to see Alexander Skarsgard play a mute Amish bartender in a neon, high-tech future, then Mute is the movie for you! My aunt warned me not to bother with this movie, and I kind of wish I listened. The story was slow and mostly uninteresting. Skarsgard, who became mute after a childhood accident, tries to maintain a simple life in the big city. After his girlfriend goes missing, he tries to find her. This puts him in the path of Paul Rudd’s character Cactus Bill, a black market surgeon who does jobs for the mob. The movie had its moments, but I didn’t feel very attached to the characters and wasn’t particularly fond of staying in the seedy underworld the characters lived in. It’s supposed to be set in the same world as Moon, which was made by the same director, and there is a brief nod to the film by way of a cameo. It had sort of an Altered Carbon feel, but not as good. Highlights did include Rudd’s portrayal of the villian, an unusual role for him. He (unsurprisingly) has most of the movie’s oneliners, and you can’t help but laugh even when feeling such disdain for his character. Another point of interest was food delivery drones that can bring takeout right to your location–when will this be a thing? If you like the cast and have nothing else to watch, you might enjoy it, but overall, I’d pass.
Recommended if you like: Any of the cast (Skarsgard, Rudd, Justin Theroux) enough to follow anything they do, 6’4″ mute Amish bartenders
Into the Badlands, Season 2. I enjoyed the first season of Into the Badlands enough to keep watching it, but season two, which just dropped on Netflix, cemented it as a favorite. Into the Badlands takes viewers into a post-war dystopian future where civilization has regressed into a feudal system. Barons run the show and are supported by clippers (soldiers), cogs (slaves), and dolls (sex workers). Each baron has assets backing their power, such as oil or poppy fields. The show focuses on Sunny, a skilled and favored clipper whose lapse in loyalty forces him down a new path. Season one felt a bit over the top, but the exaggerated violence and character dynamics are leveled out in season two by the introduction of new locales and new faces, particularly Nick Frost. I’d be lying if I said Frost’s character didn’t greatly contribute to my love of season two–he’s excellent. While season one only had six episodes, season two had ten, and season three (which starts April 22) was granted a run of sixteen. If this season was any indication, things are going to just keep getting better, so hop on the train now if you’ve missed out.
Recommended if you like: Kung fu, ridiculous fight scenes, Nick Frost, female assassins, stories about a dystopian future or feudal warfare
BONUS: Tomb Raider. We left our couch on Saturday to go see the new Tomb Raider movie. (We went to a theater that had recliner chairs, of course.) I actually really liked it! I thought Vikander was great. I admit I haven’t seen many of her movies, even though Ex Machina has been on our list for a while. I don’t think it’s done that well so far, but I was entertained, and that’s all I’m really looking for most of the time. I haven’t played the games so I can’t really speak to that, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen the Angelina Jolie versions to compare. For a video game movie–which tend to be notoriously bad–I enjoyed it!
Recommended if you like: Alicia Vikander, the Tomb Raider franchise, female protagonists, general female badass-ery