July 2023 Viewing Diary

July was busy. I bought a new car. My old one basically disintegrated around me, so much so that the mechanic didn;t even want me to drive it home from his shop. I found a new apartment, and the market where I am is horrific (thanks Airbnb). But I found a unicorn of a place. I’m still pinching myself. Walking distance to the beach. Within my price range. I have a YARD. and a PORCH. I’m still afraid to talk about it out loud. I move end of this month). I went on vacation. I worked on a huge piece that will be coming out next week. So the viewing diary reflects the busy-ness. Also in my spare time I’ve been so wiped out that I prefer to watch hour-long “documentaries” on YouTube about how Bam Margera ruined his life (just one example), as opposed to digging into a movie. Not much brain space right now for anything else (oh, and I’m almost done with volume 3 of Proust’s magnum opus: It is 810 pages long and the majority of the entire book – not even an exaggeration – 600, 700 pages of it – are made up of the descriptions of two parties. It’s ridiculous! And amazing! So here’s what I watched in July.

La Ricotta (1963; d. Pier Paolo Pasolini)
This short film was part of a larger work, with multiple directors. “Subversive” doesn’t even really cover what’s going on here. Pasolini was hip and “criminal” and a trickster – Jean Genet-style, from the underworld with Catholic iconography in almost every frame. I love Orson Welles as the director of the movie-within-a-movie.

The Bear
WOW. I inhaled it. I basically forced Allison to watch it. I am in love with those characters, especially how the arc played out in Season 2. Season 1 established the context for each one, you get to know each member of that kitchen. Season 2 was a totally different format, with each character getting his/her own episode. I was almost surprised by how wholesome – in the best sense – Season 2 was. Redemptive. Second chances: we all should be allowed them. Excellence: some people don’t even know they had it in them until they were encouraged (Marcus! oh my God!) I’ve watched Season 2 twice in a row. I am hoping there will be a Season 3, although now with the strike I’m not sure what will happen. SAG/AFTRA/WGA strong! I support the strike, it shouldn’t have to be said.

The Miracle Club (2023; d. Thaddeus O’Sullivan)
I reviewed for Ebert. Sentimental.

Clash by Night (1952; d. Fritz Lang)
Always love re-visiting this one. Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan – as two hard-boiled hot-headed outsiders with outlaw emotional makeups – and Marilyn Monroe, who is adorable and natural and totally believable. A serious role. I also love the atmosphere established: this working-class fisherman’s beach town: the rickety bars, the rickety houses where tenants are on top of each other, no privacy, the beauty of the ocean and the squalor on land … Lang has a reporter’s eye.

The YouTube Effect (2023; d. Alex Winter)
I reviewed for Ebert. Not sure why we needed this doc. There are exposes on YouTube itself that are far more in-depth but I suppose if you’re not in that world this new doc is a good way to get familiar with the algorithm (which we all should know about ANYway since it is running our damn lives.)

The Deepest Breath (2023; d. Laura McGann)
I still can’t get some of the footage in this out of my mind. Terrifying. I reviewed for Ebert.

The Unknown Country (2023; d. Morrisa Maltz)
I loved this film. I reviewed for Ebert.

Barbie (2023; d. Greta Gerwig)
Went with my sister, sister-in-law and niece during our vacation. We listened to Sinead O’Connor the entire 37-minute drive to the nearest movie theatre. It was the day poor Sinead died. We made a spectacle of ourselves, laughing at every single thing Ryan Gosling did. What’s amazing about it is he played it earnestly. He’s on the level. He MEANS it. That’s why it’s so hilarious. I have some pretty major qualms with it – and with what is going on with it – the advertising, my God – but I can see why it’s a hit. I think back on Lady Bird, which I did like … but my main take-away was: “The movie ends with a girl 1. going to church and 2. calling her mother. How old is the filmmaker again??” It’s an amazingly square ending coming from such a young filmmaker. I don’t mean to get generational-essentialist but … Gen X would laugh you off the block for this much status-quo-propping-up. I grew up with the kids in The Breakfast Club who realized their parents were frauds and hypocrites and making their own rules, lol. Gerwig’s next two movies just perpetuate the sense of overall square-ness. Little Women?? Okay. In the immortal words of Huey Lewis, it’s hip to be square, but I guess I just have a different sensibility. I like outlaw spirits, always have. I like Greta Gerwig and I am happy for her success. I’ve been interested in her since her mumblecore days. But I’ve got qualms. However: the movie is a blast. I don’t find it subversive at all, though. Mattel branding is everywhere, how subversive can it be? So. That’s where we’re at with it! Cue: Dance number!

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22 Responses to July 2023 Viewing Diary

  1. Lyrie says:

    I had a hard time starting The Bear because it stresses me. the fuck. out. I’ve never worked in a kitchen or service job but I’ve worked in very intense customer service jobs and I just couldn’t watch it, it was giving sweaty palms. When season 2 came out it was impossible not to hear all the positive comments so I finally dove in, and I’m so glad I did. I know we’ve talked before about where is the hell is the working class in today’s shows, and I was so glad to see that, among other things. I also really loved seeing the characters in the city, especially in season 2 – such a strong sense of place.

    //(Marcus! oh my God!) //
    I am so in love with him!! There’s something in his physicality that reminds me of the boy I was madly in love with all through elementary school, until I moved. And that guy opened his own restaurant!

    I love the relationship between Carmy and Sydney so much – based purely on professional respect and appreciation, and recognizing talent. It’s so incredibly beautiful. And I love how much time is spent on Carmy’s face, and him just taking things in.

    • sheila says:

      Lyrie! Wow, I didn’t even think of the legitimate working class portrayal – you are so right!! I love, too, that Carmy is working class, he clawed his way up and out. These people WORK. And I loved the Chicago aspect of this – my old stomping grounds.

      So many great cameos too – Olivia Colman! Molly Ringwald?? I mean .. and then the smaller one-off roles. You know who I LOVED? the head-waiter guy at the super fancy world class restaurant who trained Ritchie for the week Ritchie was there. Garrett was his name. I just LOVED him. I loved the whole staff there – that episode might have been my favorite and Ritchie might be my favorite character. Although I love Tina too. And Fak! oh God Fak! and MARCUS.

      Carmy and Sydney’s relationship was so awesome: game recognize game. she stepped up – and she helped HIM step up. amazing. I love the gesture of rubbing your heart to say “okay let’s stop arguing” – and how they automatically recognized it when it came. I need to try that in my real life!

      How about that one-take episode? CHAOS.

      I have worked in the service industry and it’s horrifying but also so satisfying when you make it through a rush like the ones they had. It feels like the world is going to end. “IN the weeds” as they say. You’re never gonna get out, you’re never gonna handle all the checks coming in – you’re so backed up. and then … oh my God you did it – and it’s like the group of people in the kitchen have merged into one being.

      You know what else I appreciated? That this show isn’t about how the crew goes out and gets wasted after shifts, and maybe hook up with each other – another part of the restaurant business of course – but this show wasn’t about that. These are serious people – who NEED these jobs – these aren’t just kids who work here for the summer – these are people with obligations, sick parents, kids, whatever – their jobs MEAN something.

      But like you said – and I’m just thinking out loud – the working class aspect of their world … means that when they are all required to take ownership in their work, invest in it consciosuly – through training, or also changing up the way they do things – the resistance is real, and the resistance is maybe because nobody has ever ASKED of them to be excellent before. and of course they are all capable of it – they just need a chance.


    • sheila says:

      Where did you fall on the Carmy-romance plot? I had no idea it was controversial until I started scrolling through YouTube reactions. I LOVED it. some of the reactions had the misogynistic glint I remember very well from any female character who entered SPN. like “get her out of here”. But imo it worked thematically because – if Season 2 is about everyone in that kitchen stepping up to the new challenge, and embracing change, and filling in a missing piece in their lives – through their work – then for Carmy, the missing piece is … the man never has fun, never relaxes, has NO LIFE. the missing piece for him IS a space of love and pleasure – and that’s going to be equally as challenging for him as Ritchie submitting to cleaning forks for 9 hours a day.

      I thought it worked. I think maybe the scene where she overhears him through the fridge might be a bit too planned-ahead-of-time – manufactured – but I still think it works because … everyone has a missing piece. for him, THIS is the missing piece – not even her specifically, but … a space in his life where he can relax and be in the moment and Jesus maybe have fun?

      I don’t know. Thoughts?

  2. Lyrie says:

    //I love the gesture of rubbing your heart to say “okay let’s stop arguing” – and how they automatically recognized it when it came. I need to try that in my real life!//

    I actually told someone I work with about it – I think sometimes I need to be less spontaneous, ha ha

    //How about that one-take episode? CHAOS.//

    I love not reading anything about something beforehand, this way I can just be surprised. So, of course, it took me a while to realize what was going on, and that moment of… wait… we haven’t cut, yet, have we? Am I making this up? Oh, that IS what’s going on! Just the discovery of it, makes it even MORE exciting. I need to re-watch it.

    //But like you said – and I’m just thinking out loud – the working class aspect of their world … means that when they are all required to take ownership in their work, invest in it consciosuly – through training, or also changing up the way they do things – the resistance is real, and the resistance is maybe because nobody has ever ASKED of them to be excellent before. //

    Nobody asked them because nobody EXPECTS it from them. Ever. Like, when Tina tells Sydney “I’ll find you a sous” and Sydney tells her no, I want you – it’s not false modesty, it NEVER happens so it legitimately couldn’t even cross her mind. And in that, Carmy and Sydney are changing the culture, mostly in a good way but there’s also the risk of losing something more rooted, and I totally feel for Ritchie’s resistance to it the whole first season and the start of the second.

    But also, like you said, those people NEED to work – it’s not about passion, it’s about struggling to pay the bills. There’s something privileged in being able to think about your professional life as a career, or as related to a passion, or even an interest… And as I say that, I’m fully aware that nowadays the economic divide isn’t that clear anymore – tv writers can’t pay the rent, etc. But if we zoom out a bit, there’s a cultural divide there. As someone who didn’t finish high school, coming from a family where no one finished high school, and now a librarian with a master’s degree, etc.,… I feel that divide so deeply. I worked for decades before doing something I care about, and I appreciate so many things I now have access to, but I also feel like I don’t really belong. And like a class traitor.

    And there’s also something legitimate about not WANTING to have a career, not being passionate about your job and just doing it because you have to, that shouldn’t be seen as less than – but is. And it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t give a shit about anything – you might care about your colleagues, or your clients, or the life of the neighbourhood – just, not the STAR, you know? And we so rarely see that. Ebraheim is really left out because of that, and it broke me heart.

    So I really loved seeing all of that portrayed. And as much as I can appreciate having to save the world or whatever, I love that the highest stakes here are so deeply personal that they might seem like not much from the outside – but making the best donut he can means the world to him! (Oh, Marcus)

    //Where did you fall on the Carmy-romance plot? I had no idea it was controversial//

    Oh man, I’m so glad I managed to avoid that. Is it just me getting old or have things gotten so fucking dumb with social media? I feel like there’s no place for middle ground, anymore. Must be fun for critics…

    I don’t have a strong opinion about the romance. It’s definitely the one thing that didn’t work as well for me, but I didn’t hate it. She’s just a little too close to the manic pixie dream girl to my taste. Not only is she Hollywood pretty, but she’s also very cool, laid back, a doctor, supportive, always says the right thing? It was fucking bugging me, honestly. Does she have any stakes in her personal life outside of being Carmy’s perfect girlfriend? Baah. And like you said, that last scene was so… tv land? In another show, I wouldn’t have minded, but here it felt shoehorned.

    BUT I did appreciate that that’s the one thing he didn’t have in his life. You’re right, it makes perfect sense. If the others need to find their way to excellent, he needs to find something ELSE than that and… he doesn’t know who he is outside of that. And it would be hard for it to be something else that romance, to have enough pull, I get it.
    I’m a little disappointed because I love romantic elements in stories that are not centered around that, it’s usually where it pulls the most at my heartstrings, but in this case, I just didn’t manage to care.

    So maybe I didn’t like most of the moments where she was on screen, sadly, but I loved what the relationship brought in him. And the chaos it created in his professional life, how it threatened things. How it put Sydney in a really difficult position – how can she steer that thing despite Carmy and not be forced into the role of the scolding partner? Etc. And how threatened he is by the very notion of relaxing, of letting go. I feel like we haven’t scratched the surface of that yet and I hope we’ll get a 3rd season eventually, and I hope it will explore that aspect more.

    Also, I get that his friends are stoked about him finally having a girlfriend but like, back off, my dudes, you’re making things weird?

    • Lyrie says:

      //So many great cameos too – Olivia Colman! Molly Ringwald??//
      Sarah Paulson!!
      And Joel McHale just here to say horrible stuff once and then appear for a few seconds a time with a vaguely threatening look on his face.

      //You know who I LOVED? the head-waiter guy at the super fancy world class restaurant who trained Ritchie for the week Ritchie was there.//
      Oh my god, yes, he was SO great!

      • sheila says:

        // And Joel McHale just here to say horrible stuff //

        He was so good!! and yeah – all you needed was that one glimpse. what a DICK. you know there are chefs like that too – I’ve never worked in a kitchen like that, the whole thing was an eye opener.

      • sheila says:

        oh and speaking of cameos – dessert guy in Copenhagen! I know that actor – he was great in Dopesick too – I LOVED how tough he was, but then how he and Marcus bonded because he sensed how serious Marcus was. This is serious shit – you have to be A-plus at it. I loved when they quietly started talking about their lives to each other as they cut up dough. just beautiful writing and acting.

        I love Marcus almost too much. I just want him to be happy!

        • Lyrie says:

          I know, I love him so much too! The end of the season broke my heart, I can’t take it, I’m just so WORRIED about him. I keep having to remind myself he doesn’t exist, like a NORMAL person. ha ha

    • sheila says:

      // Just the discovery of it, makes it even MORE exciting. //

      I love it. I had the same experience! I went into the whole thing blind and purposefully didn’t look up anything about it – I am an expert at avoiding spoilers – important in my line of work – so I figured out it was one take from that first shot – wild – him out in the wild of Chicago, walking in – you rarely see them outside that restaurant, you know? That episode was crazy – Sydney stabs Ritchie!! and, nobody even really trips about it, which was the funniest thing.

      I love Fak so much. It’s hard for me to even talk about how much I love Fak. and his BROTHER.

    • sheila says:

      I guess I had a different take on the girlfriend and thought they “set her up” pretty carefully. None of which follows is meant to convince you to agree with me. I realize I’m in the minority so I’m just talkin my shit into the void right now, lol.

      so I think she was not a manic pixie and etc. First, she has a real job. She’s not like some art student with no visible means of income. She has a lot of shit going on, just like he does. To be a doctor – AND to be a chef at his level – requires dedication and sacrifice and not everyone is going to be understanding. A normie won’t get it. Secondly – I liked that she’s not some rando – some rando who comes into the restaurant, takes one look at this stressed out maniac and thinks “oh my gosh I will fall in love with this workaholic and show him the joys of life.” No sane woman in her 30s would go for that. I loved that they made her a childhood pal – a girl from the neighborhood – Ritchie knows her, Fak knows her, she already knows about Mikey – she’s someone he went to school with. So there was already familiarity there – the man barely has friends. He can’t maintain rlationships outside of his little bubble but she’s already “in there” just from the past. so that made sense to me. I read complaints that she was way too available to hang out – on a resident’s schedule? – but … I didn’t get that. Every time we see her without him – only a couple of scenes, but still – she’s in the hospital. She’s not at the gym, or lolling about at home – she’s at work, just like he is. The series isn’t about her – we don’t need a ton of backstory, just a little bit for context. Their first “date” was basically a drive to Winnetka to go drop something in this sketchy drop box – oooh super fun lol – and I imagine that was set up because it was the couple of hours she had free that week. He, on the other hand, blew off work. It’s not like they were going out to the movies or even dinner, lol. Both of them already had crushes on each other from high school – but now they’re in their 30s and can actually be like “I like you can we kiss now?” So it moves fast and in general obsessives tend to move fast, lol. I feel like her being understanding might eventually wear thin for her – but this whole thing is happening in the first flush of love. I don’t know. if my man was as stressed out as this dude is I’d be all loving up on him (as long as he wasn’t treating me like shit or taking it out on me). No skin off my nose – esPECially if I have a lot of other shit going on – like she does. If she were just waltzing into the restaurant every other day in between yoga classes – and being understanding – then I’d think “okay no woman on earth would be down with any of this.” But she can’t be with a guy who’d be all up in her face about why she isn’t more available to him. she’d be too busy. Where I’m at right now in my life – if I had a stressed out man who was otherwise nice to me – not mean or dismissive – just stressed out about work – I’d be like “let’s fuck all night my man, let off some steam.” so I get it. she’s so INTO him.

      I clearly have thought a lot about this WOW.

      I think the character clearly serves a FUNCTION – and that’s on the negative side. she has an uphill battle with that aspect of the character. she’s there as a function of the story – whereas everyone else in that kitchen is just there as part of their little hermetic world. So she’s there to basically be “the thing” HE lacks – everyone else is working on their shit and upping their game in their work life – he’s already top dog in work – and love is what he’s missing. He’s never had a girlfriend – I mean … what the hell? How has he managed that? So I think he’s terrible at it – and, like her, his job hasn’t left him any time to practice being a boyfriend.

      The “he’s trapped in the fridge and says some crazy shit about their relationship” thing felt like it was from another show. I could re-write the whole thing to bring a proper breakup without that silliness. I have a couple of ideas but sadly no one asked me.

      and I loved how this relationship impacted Sydney – who was rightfully irritated – but then got sucked into HIS weirdness as a boyfriend and couldn’t stop herself from being like “dude, she’s your girlfriend, you are being SO WEIRD.” I love their relationship so much!!

      I felt like Marcus asking Sydney out – in the middle of a dinner rush? really? – came from left field. I never felt romantic chemistry with them – just friendship and support. This might be one of those shows where romance just doesn’t really “fit” – or it has to be handled super carefully. The show really isn’t about their personal lives.

      Tina singing karaoke brings me to tears. I love her. I love her character arc. how hostile she was at the beginning!! the shade she threw at Sydney! and then LOOK where she goes. the whole mashed potato drama – it was seriously as much of a cliffhanger as a car chase! and the look on her face when Sydney says the potatoes are good … oh my God I can’t take it. I am so into these people’s competence, their desire for excellence, pushing through their own SHIT to be better at what they do.

      Stella Adler said “It’s not that important to know who you are. It’s important to know what you DO and then do it like Hercules.”

      I feel like that’s what the show is about.

      will we get a season 3??

      • Lyrie says:

        // Tina singing karaoke brings me to tears. //

        Same! I love her so much. It’s beautiful to see her experience so many small and bigger moments of surprise? She didn’t expect anything new in her life, things were SET – her resistance totally made sense. But then, she discovers all the things she can do, all the things she WANTS to do… He gives her his knife? I was in TEARS.

        // I am so into these people’s competence, their desire for excellence, pushing through their own SHIT to be better at what they do.//

        Yes, and it’s so nice to see it happen for people who aren’t young too – Tina or Ritchie didn’t expect that!

      • Lyrie says:

        //None of which follows is meant to convince you to agree with me. I realize I’m in the minority so I’m just talkin my shit into the void right now, lol.//

        Oh and by the way, I’m not trying to convince you either – I think (hope) we agree that we’re just sharing divergent points of view and it doesn’t mean shooting other people’s down.

        That said, you’re not talking into the void, because I prefer liking things than not liking them and seeing things through other people’s eyes is really helpful and adds to the experience, whether my perception changes or not. (like, you know, in a different genre, D*sti*l people, ha ha, I get it! Not my thing but I see it!)

        Showing my age here, I really miss message boards dedicated to shows where writing long ass messages was the norm. Thank you!

    • sheila says:

      holy shit my comment – I just wrote a novel about Carmy and whats-her-name. I am not ashamed!

      • Lyrie says:

        Ha ha ha I love it! Listen, I get it, and like I said, I didn’t hate and I don’t think it was something horribly written – it just didn’t work as well as the rest for me (like, I know we saw her in scrubs but I didn’t FEEL like she has a whole stressful doctor life happening) but HEY maybe it just speaks to my inability to be a cool girl myself!

        Macus and Sydney:
        //I never felt romantic chemistry with them – just friendship and support. //

        That’s just sooooo funny to me, because I did! Right away! Given what the show is I’m not sure I want anything to actually happen (other than Marcus being all awkward during dinner rush and I love him for it) — but I live for quiet (and not quiet) yearning — I watched how many seasons of the X Files not giving a shit about aliens? So, I’m ok with what these two have… but I totally felt chemistry. But maybe it’s also because of my own HUGE CRUSH ON MARCUS, ha ha

  3. Sheila!

    Thanks for writing about Barbie! I’ve seen lots of friends reviews and thought, oh I have to hear what Sheila has to say!
    I’m curious and all I hear from reports back from friends and social media is they are going or no going according to their politics. So now we are seeing or not seeing movies because someone who likes Trump loves this movie?
    Anyway. I saw a little clip and I laughed right away about how Ryan G. delivered a line so I can see how you guys laughed at all he did. I always liked him too. Blue Valentine just breaks my heart.
    I played with Barbie’s but I wasn’t into having all the stuff so I probably wouldn’t be into all the product placement thing. “Oh I had that!”, and all that stuff. But I loved Lady Byrd, and Francis Ha. Francis Ha reminded me of myself when I was young running and dancing nerd like on the streets of NYC, and she’s a couple of generations removed from me. I also loved her in tons of movies.
    As an actress I bet it’s probably a dream to be directed by her I could imagine.
    And my daughter loved Barbies. Anyway, I think it would be interesting to hear from you your misgivings! I’m going to go see it!

    • sheila says:

      Regina – oh my God The Maga idiot’s tantrums about this movie have been almost entertaining. And also vile. Why do you guys not want women to feel lesser-than? don’t you realize that being so threatened by women makes you look like a classic beta incel weirdo? It’s so WEIRD. Meanwhile – I would say that Ken is, arguably, more central than Barbie – there was a whole piece from last week basically saying “why are we talking so much about Ken? Even in this movie about WOMEN we can’t help but center MEN.” first of all, stop saying “we”. clearly this is the kind of movie which makes people lose their minds. we’re talking about Ken because Ryan Gosling steals the whole thing – he has not one but TWO full on dance numbers – and gives a great and nuanced performance. People need to relax!!

      The movie is also not anti-man – it’s anti-patriarchy – there’s a difference, dummies, and men are damaged by the patriarchy too and the film CLEARLY makes that connection. It’s actually quite insightful about how men and women can bond together and find unity in saying “No” to the nonsense of patriarchy. People just dont want to hear this – or they’re hearing something else based on the propaganda they’re engulfed in. some of this rhetoric is so STUPID.

      including that other piece I mentioned. I will talk about Ken as much as I want, lady, and I’m as much of a feminist as you are, so THERE.

      I too loved Lady Bird – and Frances Ha – I love Gerwig as an actress. Have you seen 20th Century Women? I LOVE that movie and she’s great in it!! My qualm here is about how much Mattel is involved in this film – how much merch they’re gonna move – and how … nothing so corporate-driven can – in any logical sense of the word – be called “subversive” – even though I’m seeing people call it that. Mattel is very gently lampooned but they’re just seen as bumbling doofuses. which, okay, I understand – but still: this is a BRANDING opportunity for them, and … okay. You go for it but don’t act like you’re making some counter-culture statement, powered by corporate dollars. I am just a little queasy about the compromises Greta had to make and the “input” Mattel gave her on the script – which they did!! YUK. I am happy for her success, and I think it’s an entertaining movie – but …

      I’s also still telling girls there’s a “right” way to play with Barbie, a “right” way to think about her. Kate McKinnon plays “weird Barbie” – the Barbie abused by the kids who played with her and cut her hair and drew on her face – and McKinnon is hilarious but inherent in this message is that there is a right way to play with Barbie and the way to play with Barbie is to vibe with her aspirational message: you can live in a great house by the beach, with a car, and beautiful clothes and have a job if you want … but it’s not cool to, for example, make your Barbie fuck your brother’s GI Joe doll (a match made in heaven) – or draw fangs on her, or shave her head. That’s “weird”.

      Regina, I might be over-thinking this!! But I feel a corporate message here just beneath the surface of the girl-power and it makes me uncomfortable!

      But still. I had a BLAST.

      Things are mixed up!

      • Sheila!
        Oh thanks so much for your review! Best one I read!
        I haven’t gotten to the movie yet, it’s been sold out! So interesting to hear that Ryan Gosling steals it! Of course he did!
        I haven’t seen 20th Century Woman!
        My favorite Barbie game was to tell my little sister, “everybody hates me and I have to walk home alone” “Oh come on I don’t want to play that again!” lol A psychiatrist would have a field day with that one!

        • sheila says:

          I think you will really love 20th Century Women – as an actress for sure I think you will dig the performances and the ensemble work.

          Wait until you see Ryan Gosling sporting those outfits. oh my GOD.

          My niece has already seen it twice. she loves it so much.

          // “everybody hates me and I have to walk home alone” //

          I am dying laughing.

  4. Gemstome says:

    The Bear is so fantastic! And those guest stars! I’ve liked Jeremy Allen White since
    Shameless and I’m glad he’s thriving.

    Sheila, I’m curious what you think of her Little Women! I thought Saoirse was very good as usual, but her Jo seemed more like Louisa May Alcott in Jo cosplay and thus didn’t really work for me despite the strength of the acting. I also was completely underwhelmed by Chalamet’s Laurie who just wasn’t the *force* he was in the book. I feel like Greta just wasn’t that interested in him outside of the confession.

    • sheila says:

      Gemstone – I’m so happy for JA White – he’s soooo good. I’m happy too because he’s a character actor and he’s the lead in something. I’ve been bemoaning the lack of character actors – at least in leads – for a while. It makes me miss the 70s where someone like Dustin Hoffman or Jack Nicholson became not only leads but sex symbols. JA White is that – so is Jeremy Strong – these kind of weird quirky guys – stepping into central roles. It’s really good and I’m happy about it!

      I have watched Gerwig’s Little Women a bunch of times – my nieces love it – and I do love some of the “edits” she made. It made me actually understand the whole Jo falls in love with the German professor thing, which I have rejected emotionally ever since I read the book as a kid. Gerwig made it make sense! It helps too that, as you say, Chalamet was not at all a “force”. He barely registered.

      The other issues – like all the sisters being about the same age, lol – didn’t bother me at all. Saoirse was fine but she’s so freakin gorgeous that all of her “I’m so plain” talk just … come on. In what universe? Probably unfair to say but … give me a Jo who looks like Lily Taylor or Miranda Hart – I mean, I think they are both beautiful, but not OBVIOUSLY so. I feel like most adaptations don’t really deal with the fact that Jo is a big clumsy tomboy, who knocks things over, and nobody looks at twice as a romantic potential. like, can we actually deal with that?? and not cast someone completely drop-dead gorgeous?

      I think why it’s so interesting Gerwig chose that as her second feature is that … it’s such well-trod ground already. It’s been done a bazillion times. In that way, imo, it’s safe material.

      // I feel like Greta just wasn’t that interested in him outside of the confession. //

      Totally agree with that.

  5. Jessie says:

    I’m closing my eyes over your and Lyrie’s discussion of The Bear but I will assuredly be back once I’ve seen it.

    I’m glad we took the night off and went to see Barbie at the movies, it was a lot of fun to watch it with a big group of people. I have to agree that I couldn’t relate to The Message at all, and hardly found it subversive; it presented only as a comedy and surprised me at how regularly and hard it hit as a comedy, and how well it exploited and leveraged Barbieland and then the shift to the ‘real world’ for jokes. We really laughed a lot! Horse Girl Gosling I adored, he just never missed a microsecond of an opportunity to go for a laugh. And Robbie was radiant and responsive as she needed to be.

    Congrats on finding your unicorn apartment!

    • sheila says:

      // but I will assuredly be back once I’ve seen it. //

      I’m so excited to hear what you have to say about it once you’ve seen it. You know how we always talked about how we loved the COMPETENCE of the winchesters in SPN? the Bear is almost totally about competence – it was heaven in that regard.

      // surprised me at how regularly and hard it hit as a comedy, and how well it exploited and leveraged Barbieland //

      yes, I laughed a lot too! I wish the little angry teen who hates Barbie had been allowed to stay an angry little teen who hates Barbie. Not everyone HAS to fall under the sway of Barbie, come on! I loved Robbie’s vulnerability and openness – she was like a little kid! It’s a very good performance.

      Ryan Gosling clapping in rhythm during that first dance number will get me through many a dark moment. We were DYING. he was just so into it, and never once winking at us – he played it straight. I would love to see the bloopers. I mean, his outfits, Jessie. His outfits. His misunderstanding of the patriarchy … “when I found out the patriarchy wasn’t about horses….”

      we were in tears!

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