Popcorn Diet: August 22 through September 5
Here is list of the pop culture I consumed - hence, my popcorn diet - from August 22 to September 5. Let's get into it.
Mon. Aug. 22
I haven't really spoken about the Nate Parker alleged rape controversy with anyone, but I think Anne Helen Peterson's story about it at Buzzfeed is fascinating; I think the Daily Beast story is meticulously researched; and I basically agree with everything Roxane Gay says at the New York Times. Whatever you think about Parker's innocence or guilt, and how that affects your thoughts on his upcoming film, Birth of a Nation, they're all worth reading.
Caught up on this week's Vice Principals, the sixth episode of the nine-episode season, and things finally kick up a notch with Walton Goggins's Lee Russell being found out as a petty, power-hungry maniac by the principal he's trying to sabotage. Of course his character is repulsive, but Goggins's mean-mugging reaches new ecstatic heights every week, and that's why I keep watching. This reaction to a forced-prayer session a few weeks ago is still my favorite.
Sadly, the second season of Another Period ended this week on Comedy Central, and it is essential that you watch this show. TRULY. Last week's penultimate episode, "The Duel," included a song praising incest sung by a brother and sister who are the vice president of the United States and a nun, respectively, and Christina Hendricks's character Chair dueling the wife of the man with whom she's having an affair. There's another point where Chair is talking about her excellent qualities and snarls "my vagina," and everything Christina Hendricks does in this role is hilarious and filthy and perfect.
Finally, I spent the evening rewatching some random stuff on HBO On Demand before our free trial period expires at the end of August: the penultimate episode of the fourth season of Game of Thrones, "The Watchers on the Wall" (during which I had a lot of feelings about the deaths of Grenn and Pyp), and the first three episodes of the first season of True Detective, which I've now watched like six times AND OWN ON BLU-RAY but still put on in the background. Dammit, Rust Cohle. I cannot quit you!
Tues. Aug. 23
Picked up some books I requested from the library, including Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which is being adapted into a film with Sebastian Stan and Taissa Farmiga, and I am here for that. Also thinking about requesting the book The Dinner by Herman Koch; one of my coworkers is reading it in her book club, and the cover praise by Gillian Flynn has me intrigued.
Wed. Aug. 24
Was going to see that sci-fi movie Morgan tonight, but missed the press screening because I had some other work to finish. My bad. Sorry, Kate Mara. Please forgive me and don't trash talk me to Jamie Bell -- although, are they even still together, or was that just a Fantastic Four relationship? (Did you read my review of that? Feel free!)
Sat. Aug. 27
Went to the Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C., to see singer-songwriter William Elliott Whitmore, who my boyfriend and I have seen probably five or six times over the past 10 years. It's hard to describe Whitmore precisely, but he plays a mix of blues, rock, and folk that is very populist and humanist in its thematic content. "Old Devils" is one of my favorite songs of his, and it's basically a satisfyingly angry anti-capitalist rant. If you can find a not-crappy-quality version of it online, you should listen.
Sun. Aug. 28
Series finale of The Night Of was tonight on HBO, which overall I enjoyed very much. This series was undeniably even, with somewhat-frustrating depictions of black men in prison and an almost-too-heroic depiction of the lawyer John Stone, but there were excellent performances throughout and some very strong characterizations. Riz Ahmed was a revelation; please be aware that I saw him first. Peyman Moaadi and Poorna Jagannathan were 100% heart-breaking as his parents. Michael K. Williams gave nuance and menace to his drug-dealer-Machiavelli character Freddy. There are things that will infuriate you about the series, but it's so successful at building a sense of place and demonstrating the shortcomings of the judicial system that it's still worth the time investment.
Mon. Aug. 29
Missed the screening of The Light Between Oceans tonight, because I wanted to finish reading M.L. Stedman's book before seeing the film. I mentioned this already in another post, but MY TEARS, THEY FLOWED. I still haven't seen the movie yet because I know it will wreck me, but then again, it basically flopped in theaters. So maybe when I eventually see it, I'll have the theater all to myself and no one will care. I'm kind of a jerk for hoping for this outcome, I think.
Wed. Aug. 31
Was going to see Bridget Jones's Baby tonight, but I literally have no memory of what happened in the second film. LITERALLY NONE. I'm sorry, Renée Zellweger. I don't think you deserve half of the crappy judgment you've gotten for your face, but I have no interest in the parentage of your fictional child.
Fri. Sept. 2
Can every character on Mr. Robot be my favorite character? Because in this ninth episode of season 2, "eps2.7_init_5.fve," I basically adore everyone, even as their motivations often conflict. Getting the backstory of what happened with Elliot earlier in the season was essential, of course -- and that hug between him and Darlene when he walks out of prison! -- but there were so many other excellent scenes for a variety of supporting players: Whiterose peeing on a former Evil Corp. CEO's grave. Angela hacking her boss to gain more intel about their shady dealings. Joanna Wellick rolling up on Elliot, only hours after his release, trying to learn whatever information he has on Tyrell. Dammit, Sam Esmail! You excellent bastard.
Sat. Sept. 3
Why did I see The Wild Life this morning? Why do I clearly not value my time? Holy crap, this animated flick about Robinson Crusoe's parrot and the crazy shenanigans he gets up to with a pair of devious cats might be one of the worst "family" films of the year. Please see my utterly unimpressed review for additional grumbling.
Mon. Sept. 5
It's Labor Day! Which I celebrated by catching up on the only reality TV shows I watch: Ink Master, now in its eighth season on Spike, and The Great British Bake Off, now in its seventh season on the BBC; both premiered a few weeks ago. (Note that the latter show is called The Great British Baking Show when it airs on U.S. TV; yes, it having two names is weird.)
Ink Master seems needlessly complicated this season -- judges Oliver Peck and Chris Núñez divided the competitors into teams, and for the first few weeks the teams have to complete within themselves, then they eventually compete against each other -- but I like the female competitors this season, particularly Ryan Ashley and Gia Rose. Their Instagrams have some really impressive examples of their work.
And The Great British Bake Off thankfully stays the same, with its insane technical challenges on everything from biscuits to bread. My early favorites are the competitors Benjamina Ebuehi, a teaching assistant; Candice Brown, a PE teacher; and Selasi Gbormittah, a client support associate. Plus, because The Great British Bake Off is excellent with its diversity representation, there's also Rav Bansal, a Sikh contestant, who BLUSHED in last week's episode when judge Paul Hollywood complimented his bread. Guys, I want them all to win. Why isn't that allowed?!