13 Reasons Why: A Review

This isn’t really going to be a review; my title lied. It is part review, part rant…

13 Reasons Why: A Rant

I recently (binge) watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix this past week. To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations because all of the promos made it look like another stupid teen drama. I was only slightly tempted since I had read the book in high school, but if Cassandra hadn’t started it with me, I probably wouldn’t have watched it for a long time, if ever. After a few episodes, I was hooked. Mostly because of nostalgia– I really loved the book when I was younger.

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This show is probably one of the only instances in my life where the book just didn’t measure up to the show. Now, I have not read the book since high school, so I could be wrong, but the show was just so much more nuanced. There are a lot of changes from the book, but it made the whole thing so much more connected and intense. Plus, the acting was incredible. Watching the show was truly an experience and I can’t wait to watch it again.

I wasn’t originally going to do a review, because the show had been given so much praise already that there wasn’t anything I felt I could add to the conversation. But recently on Facebook, I’ve seen a lot of posts talking negatively about the show because of how graphic and “triggering” it was. So since I am passive-aggressive af, I’ve decided to throw in my 2 cents, plus I really loved the show.

I will be discussing generalized plot points, so if you have not finished and do not want any light spoilers, click away.

In the Facebook post that started this whole blog post, it was basically saying that the entire show needed a warning because the whole show was graphic and insensitive to people who have gone through similar experiences.

First of all, putting a warning on the whole show, telling exactly what is going to go down throughout the entirety of it is (for lack of a better word) stupid. Who would watch a show, knowing exactly what is going to happen? Also, everyone has been talking about this show, everyone knows the premise. So, if you know that you are sensitive to suicide or bullying, then don’t watch a show about suicide and bullying.

Another point that was made in a different Facebook post was that 13 Reasons Why was glorifying and romanticizing suicide. This one was coming from someone who hadn’t even watched the show, and yet they felt entitled to write a whole novel on her Facebook about it. This show, in no way, makes suicide look enticing. If anything, it shows the raw, painful, frightening, and depressing truth of taking your own life.

I don’t think there is anyone out there who read the book or watched the show and then thought, Wow, I could really go for a nice suicide right about now. I was more inclined to buy a tape recorder and tell all the assholes I knew how much of an asshole they were than to take my life. In the final episode when we actually see Hannah commit suicide, it was the darkest thing I’d ever seen in my life. I kept expecting the camera to cut away, but it didn’t. It stayed with her until she died. I stayed with her until she died.

I can’t say that I’ve never thought about killing myself, but it was more like “If I was dead right now, I wouldn’t have to go through this shit” than actual self-hatred and loneliness. But watching that scene was like a sharp slap in the face, waking me up. We always hear about people who kill themselves, but seeing it happen and it’s direct affect around everyone around them is unnerving.

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This show is supposed to make you uncomfortable. You are supposed to feel sick to your stomach. You are supposed to want to look away but fail. Yes, this show is graphic and “triggering” but that is because it needs to be. People aren’t going to talk about it if it isn’t right in their face. That is why the book was so important when it came out 10 years ago. It was all anyone talked about in the hallways at school, and now it is all anyone can post about online. It opens discussion, which in turn instills change.

Thank you for reading!

 

Movies I’m Looking Forward to in 2017

I have always loved movies, but recently that love has intensified. My family hardly ever went to the movies because taking five kids anywhere was always a headache and too expensive. On the few occasions that we did go, it was like we had walked into a different dimension. If you’ve ever seen Annie, it felt something like the scene where Daddy Warbucks takes Annie to the movies for the first time.

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So, here is a tentative list of movies that I am looking forward to watching this year!

Beauty and the Beast

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Release Date: March 17, 2017

To be honest, I haven’t been that excited about all these reboots, but when I saw a commercial for the movie in theaters, I almost cried. It brought back memories of re-watching Disney movies for the hundredth time with my little brother.

Life

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Release Date: March 24, 2017

This movie is about the discovery of life on Mars and has an amazing cast that includes Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal. The trailer is intense enough as it is, so I’m very excited for the actual movie.

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Release Date: April 12, 2017

When I was at the movies to see La La Land, there was a commercial about a little girl who is academically gifted in the middle of a custody battle between her grandmother and her uncle. Her uncle wants her to have a normal life, but her grandmother wants her to go to the best schools and not waste her talents. Again, this trailer almost had me in tears, but honestly that is not hard to do. It also features Octavia Spencer who is amazing!

Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Release Date: July 7, 2017

I have loved Spider-Man ever since middle school. I will literally see anything that features him, so this is a no-brainer. I also really love superhero movies in general.

Logan Lucky

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Release Date: August 18, 2017

This movie was filmed in Atlanta and stars MY MAN, Adam Driver. I have seen everything he’s ever done and will continue to do so until I die. For those of you who don’t care/know about him, your main selling point might be the fact that it also stars Channing Tatum and Daniel Craig.

Murder on the Orient Express

Release Date: November 22, 2017

This movie is still being filmed, but it has another great cast like Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley, and many more. All I know about it is that it is in the drama and suspense genre.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Release Date: December 15, 2017

I was never really into Star Wars before having seen the newest one, but then over Christmas break, my brother and mom and I watched all of the movies. Now, I finally have an appreciation for the franchise. Plus it has Adam Driver…

Get Out: A Review

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I know I did. MAC was together again for another weekend of adventures. They came over to my neck of the woods and we grabbed dinner at Mellow Mushroom. We had a really great night just laughing and hanging out. We originally planned on seeing Get Out Friday night, but it had a really late showing and 2/3 of us are basically grandmas. 

So, we decided to see it Saturday at the Collections in Forsyth. I have been really looking forward to this movie ever since Allison Williams started promoting it on her social media. And then all of the reviews came pouring in and I had to see it. 

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I won’t give any spoilers but it really was amazing. It was the typical horror/suspense movie on the surface but the underlying truth of racism in America made this movie so moving and beautiful. This film sheds light on how ignorant some people are towards minorities. You are able to experience the film through Chris’s ( the protagonist) perspective. At least for me, it was really eye opening to see something firsthand that I have had the privilege not to experience. 


It’s one of those movies that I want to watch over and over. Even now, I feel like I can’t do it justice because there’s so much I probably missed and didn’t notice the first time. 

My face throughout the entirety of this film tbh

After seeing this movie, I want to bring everyone I know to see it. I hope it opens people’s minds and brings them awareness to what happens everyday all around them. 

Whoever you are or wherever you’re from, just Get Out and see this movie! (I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.)

***Images from Google 

Paterson: A Review

I saw a film last night at the Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Paterson is Jim Jarmusch’s latest work about a bus driver/poet named Paterson who lives in Paterson, NJ. The film follows Paterson and his wife, Laura over a span of seven days while they go about their life. Nothing monumental or life-changing happens, and yet there is a noticeable shift in the characters by the end of the film. I’ve never experienced anything quite like this. I’ve never felt more peaceful or been more creatively inspired by a movie before. I am not well versed in any of Jarmusch’s previous works, so I’m not sure if this is his style or not, but it was unbelievably refreshing to see a film so devoid of conflict. Like any film, it has a rising action and a resolution at the end, but it is a very gradual rise and fall. It is really hard to explain why I love this movie, other than the fact that it stars my favorite actor right now, Adam Driver. I have been following this film since it made its first premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and without having even seen it, I knew it was going to be one that I watched over and over.

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Even though I was prepared for it to be a pretty mellow movie, I still tensed as if waiting for the other shoe to drop. The music in the beginning had a horror feel to it as Paterson walked unassumingly to work, and I was tense as I awaited the impending doom I was sure was to come. But nothing really bad ever happened. We were teased by potential dangers, like the threat of Marvin, Paterson and Laura’s English Bulldog, being kidnapped or even when (SPOILER) Everett brings a fake gun into the bar. No matter what situation arose, Paterson still woke up the next morning in bed with Laura.

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Their relationship, by the way, is so beautiful and pure. Their love and mutual understanding of each other is the real heart of the film. Everything Paterson does is for her. He starts and ends and his day by her side, and their relationship is such a beautiful portrayal of two people in long-lasting love. Where Paterson internalizes his art, Laura is so energetic and outward with her art. They are a perfect balance. She supports him and encourages him just as he encourages her ever-changing dreams. It is very rare for such a thing to be captured in film and television. Especially since everything portrayed in television and film is so revolved around sex and drama. By no means am I saying that it is perfect, because I firmly believe that there is always room for improvement, but it’s pretty close to what I consider perfection.

The only thing that irked me was Laura’s constant berating for Paterson to make copies of his poetry. Poetry is just a part of him, and who says that you have to share your talents with the world? Sometimes it is nice to keep them to yourself for a bit. After all, that is where they are most safe. I also feel that since Paterson analyzes and observes everything, his poetry wouldn’t be the same if he knew that other people would potentially read it. By keeping it in his secret notebook, he was able to write freely without inhibitions. There was one scene where I thought he might have regretted not making copies of his poems. When he was in his study in the basement, he was looking at William Carlos Williams’s book and it felt like maybe he had a bit of yearning to have one of his own.

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I didn’t realize how much I had to say about this film until I sat down to write, but I want to touch a bit on the acting. The whole cast was phenomenal. My favorite kind of acting is the kind where I don’t even realize I’m at a movie. Golshifteh Farahani was strikingly beautiful and delicate in comparison to Driver’s lanky, yet bulky stature. He seemed to hunch his way around the house, where Farahani moved as graceful and lithe as a bird. There were a few scenes between Paterson and Laura that pulled me away, but I’d have to re-watch the movie to see why I felt that way exactly. Overall, though, it was incredible. Adam Driver was amazing, but I’m kind of biased since I will literally see anything he does. He could do a three-hour-long movie about him eating cereal and I would think it was a masterpiece. But seriously, he is such a unique actor. He is unexpected in his movements and is a master of the micro-expression. He is silent the majority of the film, but not in the “lights on, but nobody’s home” way. You can see him listening and absorbing everything around him and it is beautiful. I want to go on the record here and now by saying that he is going to be one of the greats. I think that too many people get caught up in superficial expectations for actors in “the business”, and not enough people see what true craftsmanship looks like.

I highly recommend this film to literally everyone.

The Genius of ‘Girls’

HBO (Home Box Office) is a Time Warner owned premium cable and satellite television network. Its programming consists mostly of original television shows and movies or documentaries that have been made specifically for cable. One of HBO’s original television shows is Girls, which was created, directed and starred in by Lena Dunham. The show’s premise and many other factors came from aspects of Dunham’s personal life. Throughout its five seasons (the sixth and final season comes out this spring), the show has received a lot of backlash for the characters and overall themes. However, it is because of the conflicts in and around the show that make it a great show for this generation.

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Girls is a satirical sitcom about five girls trying to “make it” in New York post-collegiate. It is a social commentary on white privilege that exists so prominently in America today. The show begins with Hannah Horvath, played by Lena Dunham, an aspiring writer who was cut off financially from her parents so she is forced to find a real job in order to keep living in New York. All of the characters seem shallow and two-dimensional on a first impression, but as the show progresses so do their developments. The show faced many criticisms, mostly for Dunham’s constant and unabashed nudity as well as its all-white cast. The lack of diversity is very significant to the story that Dunham is telling throughout the series. That a story could even be told in New York with an all-white cast is comical, but because the show overdramatizes everything, many viewers find the show to be narrow-minded.

Girls is supposed to make its viewers feel enraged or uncomfortable. It opens dialogue about race, feminism, and overall ignorance. The main characters are infuriating because there are people in this country who act and think like them. Hannah is a self-involved, Rosie the Riveter wannabe who walks through her life as if the world revolves around her. Her on-and-off-again love interest, Adam Sackler, is described by Dunham as a rhinoceros that runs full force at something repeatedly until he is tired and moves onto something else. Unlike some television romances, theirs is not a relationship that most long for. It is an example of the kind of relationships that exist today among young adults. Girls does something that other shows do not, which is show the raw, honest truth of life in your twenties. Hannah’s best friends are equally as naïve and the men they surround themselves with are no better.

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Dunham’s portrayal is an exaggerated version of everyday life for many people, but that does not mean it is any less real. Just because Girls depicts a group of all-white friends in New York doesn’t mean that the show is culturally insensitive or that it is inaccurate. For those characters in that time frame, it is their truth. That doesn’t make it any less infuriating, but again, that is what makes the show work. It portrays the prevalent privilege in America and how privileged people take their status for granted. The characters on the show seem to be in their own bubble with hardly any regard to what is happening around them. Unfortunately that directly correlates to how many people live their lives.

In a New York Times article by Wesley Morris, it goes through the latest season and comments on how brilliant the show actually is once you dig a little deeper. When the show started, it “was received as an anthem for entitled white women,” Morris said. “Detractors had a field day with Ms. Dunham…for privileging privilege.” However, as the seasons progressed and the characters developed, viewers were able to see past the superficial layer that hovers over the show.

In addition to the show’s commentary on privilege, it also addresses mental illness, wayward relationships, and social injustice. Drawn from Dunham’s personal experience with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), the main character, Hannah, struggles to maintain her writing career. By the end of the latest season, “Hannah’s narcissism seems terroristic. Her personality disorder has the power to disorder other people’s personalities”. Watching Hannah struggle throughout the majority of the show with her OCD was discomforting, but it was also seen as encouraging. For a long time, mental illness was something that wasn’t talked about openly. In recent years, many television shows and movies have opened dialogue about mental illnesses, and Girls is definitely part of that movement.

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Morris also notes that “the national indifference that’s accrued around a show whose fealty to discomfort, poor choices and social cannibalism, which felt new in 2012 [when the show started], are now just part of television’s oxygen.” Throughout the past five seasons, the show has not lost its sense of satire. In fact it can be argued that the pathos and satire are stronger than ever. “But it’s true: Funny narcissists are indeed easy to come by (even on HBO).” What sets the show apart is that even if it isn’t a refined spectacle, it “still has the confidence to jump along a tightrope of displeasure.”

Despite the show’s success, there are still plenty of people who find Girls to be crude and deemed unwatchable. In fact, Dunham has received a lot of backlash over the years for how she looks and how she portrays white women in America. The show is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but for someone to watch it and only be able to see the first layer of a highly intelligent, meaningful series, comes across as sheer ignorance. Girls is the summation of how ridiculously millennials are viewed by other generations, and the fact that people take it so literally is more comedic than the show itself. In closing, Girls is a show where people either love it or hate it. But despite the backlash, the show and its creator have managed to create something that has captured the essence of being a young adult in the “real world”.

http://hbowatch.com/how-to-watch-girls-online/
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Click here for the review of the movie, Paterson.