What I’m Watching: December 2020

I’ve been Home Alone with George and Kramer™ (which is also the name of my upcoming memoir. Lol, only joking) for a solid 9 months now. During that time I have watched a TON of tv shows and movies. However, if you know me, you’ll know that I’m not the best about actually WATCHING whatever I’m “watching.” This used to drive my ex-boyfriend insane, and probably, rightfully so. In the last month or so, I have made a concerted effort to pay attention and I have to say, I’m really enjoying it.

Here’s what I’ve watched, in no particular order:

The Undoing

Synopsis: A psychologist’s world falls apart when her husband is accused of murder.

I wouldn’t have previously considered myself someone who likes thrillers or dramas (I’m all about a good sitcom), but this show may have been a turning point for me. It was so good. I felt like I knew who it was all along, but also wasn’t willing to see what was right in front of my face. The English nerd in me thinks that this was an allegory, but maybe I’m just reading too much into things (both are very on-brand for me). Nicole Kidman’s coats are amazing (her Botox is not). It also reminded me how much I loathe Hugh Grant (but can’t put my finger on the reason why?).

The Flight Attendant

Synopsis: A flight attendant’s life gets turned upside down after she wakes up in a hotel room with a dead man but with no memory of what happened.

HBO Max did a hell of a job promoting this show. I only ended up watching it because it was being advertised everywhere I looked. I didn’t really think I would like it. For some reason, I thought it was going to be a little cheesy but it actually ended up being extremely good. It’s very suspenseful—lots and lots of twists and turns (most that I didn’t see coming, honestly). Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) is so self-sabotaging that I had a hard time not hating her until I understood why. Now I need to read the eponymous book by Chris Bohjalian and see which one is better.

Your Honor

Synopsis: A respected judge’s son is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices.

First things first: My God, Bryan Cranston is an amazing actor. His work in Your Honor is, of course, no different. There are only three episodes out so far, but every single one elevates my blood pressure to a level that is probably not even healthy. There are so many bombs that happen, so many lies to keep track of, the whole show reduces me to a ball of anxiety but I love it so much and need to know what happens. Also, I cannot stand the son in this show? He reminds me of Jesse Eisenberg and he pisses me off. Anyone else?

Euphoria

Synopsis: An American adaptation of the Israeli show of the same name, “Euphoria” follows the troubled life of 17-year-old Rue, a drug addict fresh from rehab with no plans to stay clean. Circling in Rue’s orbit are Jules, a transgender girl searching for where she belongs; Nate, a jock whose anger issues mask sexual insecurities; Chris, a football star who finds the adjustment from high school to college harder than expected; Cassie, whose sexual history continues to dog her; and Kat, a body-conscious teen exploring her sexuality. As the classmates struggle to make sense of their futures, the series tackles the teenage landscape of substance-enhanced parties and anxiety-ridden day-to-day life with empathy and candor.

I watched the entire season in one day because this show is so good. It made me a little uncomfortable because there’s lots of nudity, sex and substance use/abuse and the show is about teenagers, but it’s an excellent show nonetheless. If you struggle with substance abuse, I would suggest sitting this one out probably as it is likely triggering.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Synopsis: Anthony Bourdain had no reservations about a move to CNN. Shortly after concluding an eight-season stint at the helm of his popular Travel Channel series, the equally popular Emmy-winning host came to the news network searching for “Parts Unknown.” In the hourlong weekend series — similar in premise to Travel’s “No Reservations” — Bourdain explores the world to, he says, “eat and drink with people without fear and prejudice … they open up to you in ways that somebody visiting who is driven by a story may not get.” Enticed by the opportunity to experience cultures rarely visited by American TV, such as in the Congo, Libya and Myanmar, the chef and best-selling author also takes viewers to Colombia, Peru, Morocco and, closer to home, Koreatown in Los Angeles.

I love Anthony Bourdain and I’m very sad about his untimely passing. He was a phenomenal storyteller and I love his dry, often very dark, sense of humor. Watching this actually inspired me to buy his first book, Kitchen Confidential. I fell asleep watching this the other night and I woke up around 4 a.m. to hear Mr. Bourdain and someone else having a spirited conversation about tentacle porn. I couldn’t tell if I was awake or having some sort of fever dream. (Actually, it reminded me of Friends when Monica think Chandler likes shark porn.) I have yet to rewatch that episode during waking hours.

Crazy, Stupid Love

Synopsis: Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the American dream. He has a good job, a beautiful house, great children and a beautiful wife, named Emily (Julianne Moore). Cal’s seemingly perfect life unravels, however, when he learns that Emily has been unfaithful and wants a divorce. Over 40 and suddenly single, Cal is adrift in the fickle world of dating. Enter, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a self-styled player who takes Cal under his wing and teaches him how to be a hit with the ladies.

My friend Thomas recommended this movie to me and so I rented it on Amazon Prime one night when I had nothing better to do. I don’t normally like romantic movies and had been avoiding them like the plague for the last year and a half, but I found this one really endearing. I’m not someone who loses their mind over Ryan Gosling, but he was kind of an arrogant dick in this movie which made me like him more? Mhm, yes, I’ll jot that down for a future therapy session.

Goodwill Hunting

Synopsis: Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves a difficult graduate-level math problem, his talents are discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), who decides to help the misguided youth reach his potential. When Will is arrested for attacking a police officer, Professor Lambeau makes a deal to get leniency for him if he will get treatment from therapist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams).

I started watching this once with someone and ended up falling asleep. I was awake for the scene where Robin Williams and Matt Damon are sitting near the water and I never forgot it. It’s one of the most poignant scenes I’ve ever seen and makes me cry, without fail, every single time. “You don’t know anything about loss because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.” Oof. I watched this movie, without being on my phone, doing anything else or being distracted in any way, and loved it. One of my favorites, for sure.

The Titanic

Synopsis: James Cameron’s “Titanic” is an epic, action-packed romance set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic; the pride and joy of the White Star Line and, at the time, the largest moving object ever built. She was the most luxurious liner of her era — the “ship of dreams” — which ultimately carried over 1,500 people to their death in the ice cold waters of the North Atlantic in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

I first saw the Titanic at a sleepover in 2002 when I was in third grade. I remember it very vividly for a few reasons: 1) the movie was so long it came on two separate VHS tapes and 2) there were boobies and I think that was the first time I saw nudity on screen. (I told my therapist I saw this when I was 9 and she responded, “you watched the Titanic when you were 9? So you were always going to end up in therapy, huh?”).

Despite the fact that I wish that I wasn’t, I am a hopeless romantic. I was rooting for Rose and Jack the entire time. Cal had money and could elevate Rose (and her mother’s) social status, but Rose and Jack really loved each other. I sobbed when Rose got off the lifeboat and ran to Jack and he said “you’re so stupid!” Also, despite what everyone on the internet thinks, there was NOT enough room on the door for both of them. It wasn’t an issue of room, it was an issue of weight. Not feasible. Case closed.

Forrest Gump

Synopsis: Slow-witted Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field), he leads anything but a restricted life. Whether dominating on the gridiron as a college football star, fighting in Vietnam or captaining a shrimp boat, Forrest inspires people with his childlike optimism. But one person Forrest cares about most may be the most difficult to save — his childhood love, the sweet but troubled Jenny (Robin Wright).

I’ve seen this movie many times but for some reason it affected me differently when I re-watched it this time? It made me so, so sad. Forrest loved Jenny so much and she just shits on him all the time. Everyone he loves leaves him. I was wrecked after watching it. Despite the fact that this movie heightened my clinical depression, it is a classic and was beautifully made. The single feather in the beginning and then the birds chirping at Jenny’s grave? Again. Wrecked. I did leave me with a question that I have been fixating on: Is Jenny a bad person? I can argue both for and against that case.

21 Jump Street

Synopsis: When cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) join the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances to go under cover as high-school students. They trade in their guns and badges for backpacks, and set out to shut down a dangerous drug ring. But, as time goes on, Schmidt and Jenko discover that high school is nothing like it was just a few years earlier — and, what’s more, they must again confront the teenage terror and anxiety they thought they had left behind.

I saw this movie when it came out in 2012. It’s nothing life changing but it’s funny and silly and a good way to escape reality for an hour and half. I needed a break from heavy and serious movies and this did the trick. I did leave this movie still not quite understanding why women lose their minds over Channing Tatum? He does nothing for me, although I do enjoy his acting.

Crazy, Rich Asians

Synopsis: Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. She’s also surprised to learn that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy and he’s considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and something far, far worse — Nick’s disapproving mother.

I absolutely loved this movie. Give me more movies where white people are not the protagonists, please. This movie made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me angry (for Rachel). I will definitely be re-watching this at some point in the future.

Heavens Gate: The Cult of Cults

Synopsis: An examination of the UFO cult through the eyes of its former members and their loved ones; what starts with the disappearance of 20 people from an Oregon town, ends with the largest suicide on U.S. soil.

I am fascinated by cults. Actually, when I watched The Vow (another HBO cult doc), I realized that I am likely one very good marketing pitch away from being suckered into joining one. Heaven’s Gate blows my mind because unlike other cults like NXIVM which recruit members based on the ploy of personal and professional development this one recruits people who want to leave earth to be with other aliens? And the way to do that is to commit mass suicide. No, thanks. The movie itself was incredibly interesting, however.

TL;DR

I have watched a shameful amount of TV recently. If there is something I should watch that isn’t on here, please let me know!

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