November 22, 2016
by katie
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Smart ladies love movies and TV, Trailer Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Trailer Tuesday

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Trailer Tuesday in which we try to discuss upcoming movies, movies we have recently watched, movies that are new to video-on-demand, Netflix and Amazon films, AND of course TV (because it’s our favorite). We also focus on inclusion and, of course, women in film –which is especially important to our collective culture.

Out this week in theaters, VOD, streaming, and TV

Lovesick (formerly Scrotal Recall), Netflix (was dropped last Friday, November 17th)

For it’s first season Lovesick was unfortunately titled Scrotal Recall which is a TERRIBLE name especially when this movie is a very charming British comedy about a guy with chlamydia. I implore you to go out and give this one a shot. [I have honestly never watched this because of the awful name but it looks really cute and British! Adding this to queue immediately. -M] UPDATE: I watched all of season 2 this weekend and this show is fabulous. PLEASE watch this show! -K

Moana, out on Thanksgiving (POC Disney princess)

The Rock is People’s sexiest man alive for 2016 he is the only POC other than Denzel Washington to have the title (has Jess Cagel not seen Luther, I mean Idris Elba is the most beautiful man on the planet). SLLS fave Lin Manual Miranda did the music for this so I bet that’s good (a reminder that BOTH In the Heights and Hamilton are on Amazon Prime and Spotify) also I would not be surprised if he doesn’t get an Oscar nomination. If I had a kid I would drag them to this. [Katie, LMM is younger than us and one award away from an EGOT! Yup, he only needs the Oscar. He’s so damn likeable that I would not bet against him. I don’t watch cartoons for children but this seems like a promising way to spend a Sunday afternoon when it comes to cable. -M]

Rules Don’t Apply, out on Thanksgiving

My mom and I have plans to see this on Thanksgiving. Warren Beatty has been out of the spotlight for so long my mother and I were worried but it turns out he was just working on a new movie. This trailer is so zippy. Lily Collins seems cute and I like that she has fully committed to the bob hairstyle (IRL) instead of having long waves and thus making me confuse her with Victoria Jackson and Nina Dobrev. PLUS we should all fall in love with future Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich. [Warren Beatty should not use Dick Tracy to sell any of his future movies. I recently rewatched it and it does NOT hold up. This looks lovely, though, and I love movies about old Hollywood–why I liked Hail, Caesar! more than most. The second I saw the commercial I knew I would be seeing this. -M]

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,  Netflix, Midnight, Friday, November 25th (created by a woman)

You have like 4 days to drop everything and watch the first 5 seasons of the Gilmore Girls (skip 6 and 7 as they are so fucking bad). If you don’t have that kind of time basically watch season 3 as it is the best OR you can read Vox’s ranking of every episode. Also let’s all be thankful Melissa McCarthy found the time to do a scene cause it’s the only thing to make me laugh-out-loud during this trailer. ALSO ALSO Emily Gilmore in JEANS –hell has frozen over. [I am going to have to try really hard not to watch this on Friday, as my friend is having a watch party on Saturday, so DON’T TEXT ME about what happens, Katie. Maybe I’ll watch Lovesick instead. So even though I loved GG like hell when it was on and own the DVDs and watched every season ten times, I think my love for the show is waning. There better be lots of Kirk, Paris & Doyle to get me excited again. -M]

Lion, out in theaters, on Friday, November 25th

Let’s get one thing out of the way, Dev Patel is ridiculously hot with a beard AND now let’s talk about how this movie will be sad and uplifting like Dev Patel’s breakout film Slumdog Millionaire. Patel plays an young man from India who was adopted by an Australian couple played by Nicole Kidman (who rocks a series of really awesome ginger “mom” wigs which makes me wonder why on earth she feels the need to freeze her face when she will play characters her own age and why won’t she go back to her red locks) and Top of the Lake’s David Wenham (I can’t wait for Top of the Lake season 2 which will also feature Nicole Kidman) after falling asleep on a train in India. This movie is based on a true story and it’s amazingly riveting (click the link if you don’t care if your spoiled). [I don’t usually go for this type of tearjerker–the trailer made me bawl–but I really want Dev Patel to succeed, even though he was in The Newsroom. When Katie mentioned that the dad was played by a guy from Top of the Lake, I REALLY wanted it to be Thomas M. Wright, who was really creepy on season 2 of The Bridge (RIP). -M]

What’s coming up

Hidden Figures

This movie has conflicting opening dates, Wikipedia says Christmas, IMDB says January 6, and the giant poster I saw at the theater said January 13. According to IMDB it will have a limited opening on Christmas (if it’s in my area I’m going), it’s opening in the US on the 6th, and Canada on the 13th, apparently the studio sent out the wrong poster (UGH HOLLYWOOD). Basically what this means is look for this on Christmas and go see it, if it’s not in your area go see it on the 6th, studios need to make more movies like this and they only will if people go see them.

Now about Hidden Figures, as the title suggests it’s about the African-American women who helped NASA in the sixties who have been hidden from history because of our countries continued racism. It stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe as mathematicians who have to fight for respect from thier mostly white male colleagues. It also costars Mahershala Ali who is in Luke Cage and Moonlight in which his role has tons of awards buzz. It is PG which means you can bring your children and old people. The trailer will make you both laugh and cry. [I almost suggested reading this for book club. This is one of my most anticipated movies of awards season–I need uplifting, you know? -M]

What’s good that you may have missed

Sing Street, Netflix

I will be upfront with you dear readers I think writer/director John Carney needs to work on his ability to write female characters and improve the way he treats actresses. However, despite the fact that it’s leading lady skews very closely to a manic-pixie-dream-girl Sing Street is still a fun and poppy ode to eighties music. [Everyone keeps recommending this, and while I think I will like it, I am still angry at how badly Keira Knightly’s character in Begin Again was written. I mean, she wants to be a songwriter, but there is no mention of any female songwriter (not Carole King or Jenny Lewis or anyone) and there’s only male singers that play in the background (besides Knightly’s character). I will never stop harping on this. Sigh. I will probably end up watching Sing Street this week. -M]

Fleabag, Amazon Prime (created by a woman)

Written and created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag is a rare show in which it made me laugh out loud and cry (sometimes at the same time). If you have not watched it yet you should (it’s only 6 half hour episodes) and if you have seen it and want to discuss it please comment. There is just so much to talk about, how the viewer becomes her confidant, the relationship she has to her sister, Olivia Colman as an evil step-mother, the banker, feminist workshops and being a bad feminist, oh so many things there is just so much with this show. [I’ve only seen the first three and LOVED them. It’s hard to watch and I cried a lot. Bonus actor: the delightful Brett Gelman, who is fantastic in everything, including the late, great Go On (I am legally obligated to mention this show every time an alumnus is in something else). -M]

This or that

We pick an actor/genre/plot with two similar films available to watch, on TV, streaming, or in theaters and tell you which one is better.

This week Sam Claflin (AKA Finnick Odair) who stars in not one but two chick-lit movie adaptations. NOTE: my synopsis of each movie might seem spoilery but basically this is what goes down in the trailer. Also your TV obsessed ten year old kid/niece/nephew/neighbor can spell-out these plot points after watching the first 15 minutes.

Me Before You, you can rent it on iTunes, Amazon, or onDemand (directed by a woman)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 58% (way too high)

The “I’m going to make you fall in love with me before I kill myself because I can’t accept life in a wheelchair BUT it’s cool cause I’m rich and I will leave you with the means to find a life outside of your poor fucked up BUT really loving family” romantic tragicomedy co-staring Emilia Clarke. This movie reminded me a lot of the Kate Hudson terminal cancer rom-com, A Little Bit of Heaven, both films suffer from severe tone issues. In neither movie do they ignore the terminal cancer/depression but they present these really not comedic elements with a  rom-com glow that just makes everything seem fucked up and surreal. I think the point of this movie –based primarily off the title– is that he is supposed to push her to become something more than she is (unmotivated shop girl) because she met him which is very problematic in it’s own right but add to that the fact that he has decided to go to Switzerland where they will assist him in death (to be clear I am a firm believer in assisted suicide but do not look to this movie for a nuanced take on that issue) because he used to be extremely sporty and is now paralyzed. Considering that this film actually has the two fall in love and find happiness it’s completely fucked up when he reasserts his desire to die (which is a personal affront to those whom are paralyzed and to those who have serious debilitating or terminal illnesses). At one point I yelled at the TV, have him watch Friday Night Lights because Jason Street handles paralysis far more maturely than this dude and he was a child. I have no idea how this movie made so much money. [I read the Wikipedia synopsis of Me Before You when it came out, which solidified my decision to never ever watch it. It sounds much more fucked up and awful than I could have imagined. Katie is a saint for watching this crap. -M]

Love, Rosie, Amazon Prime (screenplay by a woman)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 29%

The “we were best friends from childhood but I was WAY TOO DRUNK that one time in high school you made a move to remember it AND you were too stupid to not bring it up so I had a child after a condom got lodged in my vagina and you moved to America and became a doctor and we both married other people BUT eventually we realize that WE ARE SOULMATES cause you FINALLY bring up that one time you made a move and now realize I was too drunk to remember” romantic comedy (nothing really tragic happens in this one) costarring Lily Collins. This movie was directed by the same dude, Christian Ditter, who directed How to be Single which is one of the weirdest movies I have recently seen (there are characters and storylines in that movie that just don’t fit or are necessary). This movie is breezily charming, it is literally exactly what you think it will be. [This sounds kind of dumb but also better than both Me Before You and How to be Single, which I liked a lot less than Katie. Plus I don’t have to pay for this one and I would for Me Before You. I am cheap. -M]

Which one should you spend your hard earned free-time on…

Love, Rosie as it is free on Amazon Prime AND it isn’t problematic or annoying like Me Before You. Also Love, Rosie is light and fun and Me Before You will leave you an angry mess. [FREE IS BETTER, always. -M]

The weird and wacky world of the indie romantic comedy

Each week we rate the most indiest of indie rom-coms courtesy of Netflix and Amazon on their watch-ability using the following scale –Katie is more forgiving of romances and Melissa is more forgiving of comedies.

5 This movie looks cute and I am sad no one ever hyped it
4 This movie is perfect for a Saturday when you are doing laundry and want to both watch a movie but also read this weeks Entertainment Weekly
3 This movie was originally created for Hallmark, right?
2 This movie looks terrible and something I will watch in secret at 1 am on a Saturday as my secret shame
1 This movie looks unintentionally hilarious and therefore has become a must see the next time I have nothing to watch at midnight on Friday

Mr. Engagement, Amazon Prime

Katie: I give this a 1 and amend to say I would have to be very drunk to watch this. I will admit that the trailer did make me laugh but in a laugh at not with kind of way (I really want a gif of that dudes reaction when he gets CLEARLY stage-punched in the face).

We may not have the most readers but we have the best! This is so great! Thank you again A!

We may not have the most readers but we have the best! This is so great! Thank you again A!

Melissa: Can I give something a 0? Or a negative? I would not watch this sexist pile of garbage unless I was completely wasted and at Katie’s house and we had already watched everything else.

November 15, 2016
by katie
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Smart ladies love movies and TV, NEW and improved Trailer Tuesday

Trailer Tuesday

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I’ll be honest Movie Trailer Monday became kind of a slog PLUS it didn’t really allow room for TV trailers for which there are so many and so we have retooled MTM to the new and improved Trailer Tuesday in which we will discuss upcoming movies, movies we have recently watched, movies that are newly video-on-demand, Netflix and Amazon films, AND of course TV (because it’s our favorite). We will also be trying to focus on inclusion and, of course, women in film –which is especially important to our collective culture.

Out this week in theaters, VOD, streaming, and TV

Arrival, out now in theaters

I saw this over the weekend and it’s very good. It’s meditative and dreamy, it’s kind of like Terrence Malick made a really good alien movie. It’s also incredibly life affirming so it was great after this terrible “I want to burn this place to the ground” week. Let’s hope that this weekends good box office showing propels Amy Adams into the Best Actress Oscar discussion because SLLS will lose their collective shit if Emma “not at all Asian” Stone wins an Oscar before Amy Adams (or Annette Bening if we’re being honest). [I have been on the Amy-Adams-for-Oscar train since Junebug. Since this is about aliens and stars Amy Adams, it is on my husband’s radar, but I haven’t had time to see it yet. -M]

Moonlight, out now in theaters (select cities) (director of color)

I’m very excited about this movie even though I’m fairly certain it will leave me a blubbering mess. I really hope this is the movie that makes Naomi Harris’ career, I have loved her since the Masterpiece adaptation of White Teeth. [My girl S saw this and loved it. I am buoyed by the fact that people are calling Andre Holland “your new fall crush.” YES PLEASE. -M]

The Edge of Seventeen, in theaters Friday (female director)

I’m so happy that a woman has made a raunchy R-rated teen-comedy centered on a girl. I also love that the object of her affection is NOT some white CW show dude. Let’s all do our collective part and go see this so that Hollywood knows that we like female-led comedies and hot dudes of color. [AND Kyra Sedgwick is her mom! Let’s hear it for all my favorite actresses playing moms in teen movies! High five to you, Patricia Clarkson! And you, Laura Dern! And YOU, Allison Janney! -M]

What’s coming up

Mozart in the Jungle, Amazon, season 3 premiere December 9th

This show is perpetually under the radar that when it won a bunch of Golden Globes that assholes on EW Radio kept making fun of it and I nearly wrecked my car trying to call in and defend it. On its surface Mozart can seem pretentious (the title, the fact that it about classical music) but it’s really a wonderful workplace comedy about a workplace very few people get to work in. The entire cast is terrific but it stars national treasure Bernadette Peters! Please watch Mozart in the Jungle it’s very funny, also Gael García Bernal is very attractive. [Look, I love this show so much I found a way to work it into a class I taught on the multigenerational workforce. I’m sad that Dermot Mulroney is back but at least someone had the good sense to hire Monica Bellucci. You still have some time to catch up before season three. Please do it so Katie and I have someone else to talk about the show with. -M]

Beauty and the Beast, March 17, 2017

As someone who LOVES this cartoon it’s a little irritating that Disney just basically made a live adaptation of something that was pretty fucking perfect. I’m not sure we needed this. Beauty and the Beast has one of the smartest female leads BUT is also the problematic story of a woman suffering from Stockholm Syndrome which might be even more apparent when it’s not a cartoon. This is also the first of TWO trailers featuring Dan Stevens (he’s the Beast) many of you reading this column know that our like of Dan died with cousin Matthew in a fiery car crash but the next trailer might re-affirm our like (we never really loved Matthew he whined a lot and was never truly worthy of Mary’s spunk). [Katie, remember when you would recap the CW show? And he was not a beast at all, but a hot white guy? Sigh. I’m going to be honest, you will have to fucking pay me to see this. I will just watch the Jean Cocteau masterpiece again, which was scary and beautiful and had amazing special effects for 1946. -M]

Legion, FX sometime in 2017

I love Noah Hawley and I love the X-Men so I am beyond stoked for Legion. Legion is actually a really powerful mutant and the son of Professor X so let’s hope we get a really awesome Patrick Stewart cameo in the future. Also I see Jean Smart and Rachel Keller from Fargo season 2 so let’s hope Hawley finds a way to work in Bokeem Woodbine. [Could they have hired someone that ISN’T Dan Stevens?? Bonus: Katie Aselton and Hamish Linklater, one of my many boyfriends. Since I watch most FX shows that aren’t Tyrant, this will at least get a tryout, depending on how much I want to punch Dan Stevens in the face. STILL my favorite MTM I’ve done. -M]

Wonder Woman, June 2, 2017 (female director)

I’m so happy this looks good but DC has a nasty habit of putting out great trailers for movies that actually suck –SUICIDE SQUAD. Gal Gadot was the best part of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and I love Chris Pine so I’m really hoping this is AWESOME. [I really don’t care about DC and I’m glad they’re trying but I will wait until the reviews come out. If they put all the funny stuff in the trailer I will skip it until cable. -M]

What’s good that you may have missed

The Crown, Netflix

This is beautifully made and the acting is fabulous. The first few episodes are pretty slow BUT once the coronation happens it gets so good that you will be sad when it’s done. [I’m four episodes in and I never thought I’d love a show with Claire Foy (ugh so annoying in Wolf Hall) and Matt Smith, who is so perfectly cast. Plus it’s given me something else to do in my spare time instead of follow politics: read about the royals! I hope more people catch on to this show, it’s a lot of fun, and extremely expensive-looking (it IS the priciest Netflix show). -M]

Love & Friendship, Amazon Prime

Whit Stillman + Jane Austen = a vert cutting costume romantic comedy. I didn’t love this as much as I thought I would but it is very clever and Kate Beckinsale is really underused in Hollywood. She and Jennifer Garner need a hour long HBO comedy where they play to LA divorcées. [I had no idea this existed and I am super embarrassed. I love that the editing of the trailer makes it seem zippy and modern and talky–all Stilman staples. It’s almost Christmas time and I will remind all of you that Metropolitan is the best holiday movie ever. -M]

The weird and wacky world of the indie romantic comedy

Each week we will try and bring you the most indiest of indie rom-coms courtesy of Netflix and Amazon (there is so much weird and unintentionally hilarious shit out there) and each of us will rate them on their watch-ability using the following scale (This will be interesting because Melissa and I have very different thresholds for different kinds of crap, I think I’m more forgiving of romances and she is more forgiving of comedies. I don’t know–I’m the most excited about this.). [I agree with Katie’s assessment–I love a dumb comedy! -M]

5 This movie looks cute and I am sad no one ever hyped it
4 This movie is perfect for a Saturday when you are doing laundry and want to both watch a movie but also read this weeks Entertainment Weekly
3 This movie was originally created for Hallmark, right?
2 This movie looks terrible and something I will watch in secret at 1 am on a Saturday as my secret shame
1 This movie looks unintentionally hilarious and therefore has become a must see the next time I have nothing to watch at midnight on Friday

A Date with Miss Fortune, Amazon Prime

Katie: I’m actually going to give this movie a 4 because it looks like it could be genuinely funny and has Vik Sahay from Chuck. I also like romantic comedies that are about relationships and not the whole courtship. This way we can be more invested in the two leads falling in love.

Melissa: KATIE THERE IS A FORTUNE TELLER IN THIS. 3 all the way. I watch a lot of Lifetime and Hallmark movies and this could easily be mistaken for one because the leads have no charisma or chemistry. I do like family hilarity and cute dogs, which is saving this from being a 2 or 1.

November 11, 2016
by melissa
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Smart ladies love lists, Pop-Culture-A-Go-Go, November 11, 2016

(This video made me laugh, because I needed it.)

It’s been a REALLY rough week, and I’m not ready to talk about it. But! As an act of self-care, I have put myself on a news blackout. No MSNBC, no Nightly News… Everyone deals with things differently, so please take care of your friends and family and don’t push them to do what you are ready to do.

What does this mean for you? More blogging! Since I’m actually consuming other forms of culture, I can share them with you.

Listening

A few Chicago folks (GO CUBS GO!) first, since they all guest on each other’s tracks (Noname is on all three of these).

I’ve talked about Jamila Woods before, but I recently downloaded HEAVN –if you’re looking for protest music to help you get through your feelings from the week, HEAVN‘s intersectional feminist revolution is a welcome perspective.

Noname’s Telefone is more personal, like a diary set to beats.

I heard of Saba through his great guest verse on Noname’s “Shadow Man.” I haven’t spent too much time with Bucket List Project, but it sounds promising so far.

The other genre of music I can’t stop listening to is “sad lady folk.” Itasca was on my husband’s Discover Weekly–for every band after, I kept saying “this is no Itasca” and then he finally put on the whole record and it’s beautiful.

On Front Row Seat to Earth, Weyes Blood has grown significantly into a confident artist who embraces her sound.

Watching

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I was initially inspired to write this because I watched three (!!!) movies yesterday. I teleworked in the morning, and instead of watching The Today Show, I put on HBO. Joy was by far the best movie I watched, even though it was intentionally plotted in such a way to make Joy’s rise to QVC stardom very obvious. I might just be a David O. Russell/Jennifer Lawrence fangirl, whatever. I wished I had watched How to Be Single with Katie, as it was a shitty romcom that wanted to rip off the Garry Marshall oeuvre (multiple people who may or may not know each other try to find love!), but ultimately seemed just as dated and out of touch [I keep meaning to watch this. According to Comcast I watched Joy but I don’t remember it, maybe I sleep watch movies. -K]. In the evening, PJ and I watched Big Eyes, which is on Netflix. There was definitely a good movie in there but Tim Burton just couldn’t find it–I was so mad he essentially wasted Krysten Ritter and Jason Schwartzman. The midcentury mansion the Keanes moved into was stunning, though.

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There was a lot of new, amazing late summer/fall cable TV and I’m behind on all of it due to my inability to turn off the news: Atlanta, Quarry, Queen Sugar, Insecure, etc. I watched one episode of Divorce and I may only binge it one day because I miss upstate New York. I have the whole season of Better Things on my DVR, which I will get to eventually. The only new network show I’m caught up with is This is Us, which I love despite all the cheesy tears and Dan Fogelman-y twists. I’ve seen the first two eps of The Good Place, but waiting to watch them all with PJ. All of Pitch is on my DVR, and Katie likes No Tomorrow, so I might look into that. I really enjoyed the first few episodes of The Crown, so I will definitely go back and finish when I have time. Son of Zorn, episode 1 made me laugh a lot but I almost feel bad about it? It’s a typical sitcom except for the weird He-Man-ish bits. [I think I’m dumping Pitch, it isn’t bad, I just don’t seem to care enough to watch it. My favorite show sadly of the new season is Lethal Weapon –it’s pure escapist garbage. -K] 

As far as returning shows, the only ones I passionately adore and have watched every week are Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex Girlfriend. As far as I’m concerned, they are the best shows on network television [AGREED nothing this season has brought me as much joy as these two shows. No Tomorrow is trying to do the same things with rom-com genre subversion but isn’t quite there yet, I have hopes if the CW sticks with it it will get there. -K]. I watch Superstore too, because is a half hour and easy to fit in my schedule. We’ve also tried to keep up with the Fox comedies, but petered out during baseball playoffs.

Reading

I will be returning to my obsession with longreads soon, I promise. Until then, here’s some gifs of Raylan Givens being sexy:

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What pop culture have you been  getting into lately?