movie reviews · tv review · Uncategorized

Reviews: A TV Show, A Movie, A Drama

For Beginners

Stranger Things season 2 was an inevitable thing considering the enormous popularity of the first season. As a whole, I think it succeeds but I have a few qualms. First of all, my feelings about the side characters are two fold. On the one hand, I struggle to see how they stand on their own throughout the season; I even question some of their significance such as Maxine’s stepbrother who is a dick for basically no other reason than being a dick. With that said, however, some of the success of Stranger Things is the fact that it juggles so many characters but gives each one their moment in the spotlight. It takes a while for some of the characters to show their true deal and sometimes I feel the side characters are just used to create tension in the plot like Bob.

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As conflicted as I feel about the side characters, I do like that the show continued to expand our core cast of characters with the exception of Will and Joyce. I wish Will hadn’t spent the entire season unconscious or confused or seeing visions. I think there wasn’t enough time for him to really develop as a character what with him being entirely missing in S1 and unconscious for much of S2. I also wish Joyce didn’t spend all season screaming. However, I feel as though the dynamics of the group are ever evolving in a good way. They are each trying to find their own identity outside of the group and because of that they spend a significant amount of time away from each other. Dustin discovers a new creature that he wants to keep despite the group’s skepticism. Mike is still trying to get Eleven back. Lucas is grappling with his feelings for Maxine. I’m very pleased with Eleven’s story arc as well even though the storyline with finding her mom was a little tedious. She finally figures out what her powers mean to her and how she wants to use them.

I have to say I was so very happy about what happened between Nancy and Jonathan, my OTP of this show. I like that Nancy really got to shine on her own. It was somewhat marred by the fact that Steve did not get any closure from this but I’ll take it and hope he gets some more development next season. And let me just say, I did not know I needed Steve as an unwilling babysitter till now. I completely love Steve as a character this season. He is an incredibly funny character and he plays it just right.

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The cliffhanger was unsatisfying to me because I thought the entire season was about just this thing (that I won’t spoil). The plot continued to be compelling and it definitely got pretty gruesome at parts for a family show but I’m all for it. But side note, what is up with all the cliche one-liners? B+

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Lady Bird is only one of a slew of coming of age movies that I’ve had the pleasure to watch in the past couple of years. It’s about a girl named Christine, or as she dubs herself, “Lady Bird”, in her final year of high school. I have to say it’s one of the most stylistically unique. It moves in vignettes and mere snapshots of Lady Bird’s life with no sense of beginning, middle, or even end. It just feels like you’re watching little video clips spliced together as she tries to figure out to get out of California and get into college to a school on the East Coast. She is misunderstood but that misunderstanding is as much a result of her own perception of herself as those of the perceived perceptions of her from the people around her such as her father, her brother, her friends, her love interests, and especially her mom. A hodgepodge of juxtapositions herself, she is romantic but crass, she is delusional but also very grounded in reality, she is an outcast but wants to fit in.

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She has a frustrating relationship with her mom and I like that they spend an equal amount of time focusing on all her relationships, romantic, familial, and friends.

No scene really begins with a clear purpose; no scene ends with a clear resolution. It could just be a clip of her and her mom shopping at the mall and then cutting to a scene of her at school. It is beautifully acted, often feeling more improv than scripted which is only a testament to the natural dialogue. Everything feels just well balanced. A lovely coming of age movie. A

For Beginners (2)

It is rare for me for me to have completed a kdrama and give it a B. Usually, I know it’s a B from the first few episodes and just quit it. You can see from my previous reviews of Descendants of the Sun, Age of Youth, Signal, and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo that I gave all of them A’s and if I didn’t, such as Tomorrow with You, I have already stopped watching by the 3rd episode. Despite the cons of the drama, I loved the poignancy of this drama and what it has to say about the institution of marriage. Ji Ho is a quiet, mousy 30 year old who wants to make it as a writer. She desperately needs a room while she is looking for jobs after quitting her first one as an assistant writer. She finds a room with Se Hee who just wants a roommate who will recycle and look after his cat and pay the rent so he can pay back his debts. They don’t ask for much from life, just a place to stay, food, and the ability to watch soccer games in their spare time.

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They fall in love, obviously, as one can only expect in a kdrama. This will not be the first time there is a marriage contract based korean drama nor will it be the last. It is, however, unique in many ways. Even though Ji Ho and Se Hee are the main characters, they are not exactly the type of main characters I usually gravitate towards and they are not charismatic enough to hold the storyline together. It’s a good thing then that the show focuses also on Ji Ho’s two best friends, Ho Rang and Soo Ji and interesting opposite studies on their own. Ho Rang goal in life is to get married, have kids, and be a good housewife. Soo Ji works at a big male-dominated company and dreams of becoming a CEO of her own company. The drama directly explores gender dynamics in a relationship such as proposals, sexual harassment in the workplace, and patriarchy in the family head on. The very subjects that Korean dramas never, ever, ever explore.

It’s even better that the drama does not take any sides on these issues but instead portrays the characters to the best of its ability and allows viewers to make their own opinion. It does not take Ho Rang’s side or Soo Ji’s side or even Ji Ho’s side although it could be said that it supports all these characters equally in their endeavors. On top of that, I will always support a drama that supports their female friendships. It asks us if she can live her life even if she doesn’t become her life-long career of being a writer. It tell us how complicated but how simple it is to love someone. And most importantly, it asks these characters what it means to live a meaningful life to them.

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The main reason for my B rating are the last few episodes. I think it’s a shame that the previous explored these issues so deeply and carefully that the rushed last episodes felt like a bow slapped onto an almost finished present. I was especially dissatisfied with Ho Rang’s ending. I think what hurt the drama was that the writers thought, as with all kdramas, that there had to be an HEA when it would have been perfectly fine and even more emotionally enriching to have a more ambiguous ending. However, its poignant moments and its thoughtful dialogue on what it means to live a meaningful life make this worth watching. B

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Book Discussion · Uncategorized

Discussion: My favorite romantic tropes

In the grand scheme of things, shipping is probably goes at the bottom of the list of things of importance. But shipping has always been and will probably always be important to me. I might be a pessimist at times but in my heart of hearts I will always be a lover of love stories, preferably ones with HEAs. So let’s talk about love stories and romance but more specifically, what makes a couple an OTP for me? What are some tropes on romance that I will devour again and again? 

Perhaps the most important thing to me in order to get me to ship a couple is to ask do I like them as individuals and can they exist as individuals on their own with a world apart from who they love. Love is a uniting of two people. How can I like them together if I don’t like them apart or if I get more development for one character and not the other how can I feel that they really love each other? This is where all these romance tropes are born. I love Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows because they are so independent from each other makes it more special when they come together, the fact that they are so independent lets the other person figures things out on their own while still silently supporting each other. Inej never tries to change Kaz and vice versa, but she won’t give up who she is for him.  It’s a reason why I’ve never really liked Edward and Bella from Twilight, Bella of course wanting to be a vampire solely because of Edward. What does she even like?

It sounds sort of weird but one of the most important things to an OTP for me and maybe the most important thing is their wit/banter or their chemistry with each other. You might be thinking, umm what about respect? honesty? Nope, it’s chemistry. It’s that initial attraction, something about these two people that makes you interested in them. It can start in a meet cute or some sort of romantic plot device to have them realize their feelings for each other. After that, it’s where the fun part comes in. Most if not all romances can be boiled down to a trope but when these tropes are executed well, an OTP is born.

  1. The slow burn-usually culminates in a kiss after lots and lots of angst

My favorite couples of all time have been slow-burn, sometimes so painfully slowburn. Percy and Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series are one of my favorite slow-burns that felt so completely natural and lovable. It’s even more lovable because we get to see them grow up together from kids to young adults and it’s just so heartwarming. Chuck and Sarah from Chuck were also extremely slow burn mostly because Sarah had trust issues but it just felt all the more natural and sweet when they did get together.

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Percy and Annabeth (I forgot where I got this but it’s not mine)

It’s important to note that even though I like slow-burn relationships, there’s still an initial spark to them that made me want to ship them in the first place. I love Arin and Kestrel‘s from The Winner’s trilogy initial tension but like mindedness in their wit and banter which made their slow-burn all the more heart achingly angsty.  Pam and Jim from the Office. I really got to see how they’ve changed over the course of the seasons and having them finally be together was just perfect

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Arin and Kestrel playing Bite and Sting :3 (Credit)

2. Dynamic Duo-Two people are similar and capable in ways and just are there to mentally support the other

I love this trope because we get to see dynamic duos just take on the world together and the other half knows that the other person can handle shit and just mentally supports them. This is why I love Leslie and Ben from Parks and Recreation because they are so supportive of each other even as they have their own big ambitions. I also really like this trope  because it gives both parties a chance to save the other and have a battle of wills.My

Famous hand-holding scene in 2×05 

favorite non-canon couple is Shiro and Allura from Voltron. They’re both really intense leaders that feel the need to take on burdens and responsibilities for the rest of the team. But they often disagree strongly with each other and they’re kind of each other’s voice of reason. It’s all the more satisfying when they have their moment of happiness. My other favorite non-canon couple for this trope that I’ve been shipping for years is Eragon and Arya from the Inheritance cycle. And did my shipping pay off??? Nope, Christopher Paolini just decided to leave me hanging..

One ship that does this trope well in my opinion is Once Upon a Time’s Regina and Robin. I don’t even watch the show and I know what happens to Robin but holy shit, this ship is so much better to me than Captain Swan. I just completely love their strength but understanding that they can be vulnerable with each other without undermining that strength. Another dynamic duo that I ship and I don’t even watch the show but I love their gifs on Tumblr is Bellamy and Clarke from The 100. Again, the whole they’re both leaders

Phillip and Elizabeth 

and they subtly support one another is my jam. One show that I recently started watching, The Americans also does this well; Phillip and Elizabeth are already on my top OTP list because not only are they a great dynamic duo (they both kick ass and take no names), but their well-being depends on them forming sexual and romantic connections with other people but somehow the show is able to convey that they have a special understanding for each other and their silent support of one another gives me life despite their deepest reservations about the other. And speaking of silent support, San and Ashitaka and San from Princess Mononoke I love too because they like each other but they realize they have a duty to other people besides themselves and that kind of selflessness makes me love them all the more.

3. Weird meets weird- one person’s weird is perfect for another person’s weird

Every person is some level of weird and I like this trope because it makes me believe that there is someone on that same type and level of weirdness that just makes them perfect together. Probably the ultimate example of this is April and Andy from Parks and

Jimmy x Gretchen

Recreation. April is eternally annoyed and cynical. Andy eternally naive and optimistic. But somehow their eccentric humor and personalities just mesh and it’s just so cute. Gretchen and Jimmy from You’re the Worst are both terrible and pessimistic people that shouldn’t be in a relationship with anyone decent but somehow you just love the two of them together because they just get each other and they kind of throw societal expectations of what should happen in a relationship down the drain.  The opposite of that would be Jake and Amy from Brooklyn Nine Nine. They’re both too pure for this world but they’re nerds on the inside so they just meld p

Jake x Amy ❤ 

erfectly together. My other favorite workplace couple is Jonah and Amy from Superstore (they’re not together…yet..). On the surface, they seem like the stereotypical no-nonsense girl and the idealistic guy trope but as the episodes go on, you realize that they are so similar. They love getting into other people’s business and both have the same core views about the workplace. I love them so much

4. Witty Playfulness- Usually consists of witty banter and being playful with another person that they’re usually not with others

I normally make it a rule not to ship real life people together because I don’t truly know them but usually if they have a video together or act together, I just find myself loving their dynamic. I love this trope because it’s so telling of how their minds think and it just shows that they have the same type of humor. Haven’t you ever talked to a person that did not have the same humor as you and just felt awkward. Like can I really be with someone who doesn’t understand memes?? (jk, but not jk, but jk). This is why I’m in love with

Wow please tell me you two are back together please… 

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone‘s relationship ever since I saw them in The Amazing SpiderMan. Like I’m in this for life. Just look at any interviews they have together. Any and you cannot deny that they’re meant to be (i’m being dramatic). I know that they broke up and I respect that but have you seen the things they say about each other even now? Also they both just got nominated for Oscars and they hugged during the BAFTAs just two days ago. Don’t tell me love ain’t real.

For some reason, I also love Marzia and Felix who both have really popular Youtube channels. They’re so adorable. I’ve literally watched all their videos together.

5. Opposites Attract-Bad boy meets good girl or even better, bad girl meets good boy

In real life, this would more likely not happen because statistically, you’re more likely to be with someone who is more similar to you than not. I like seeing how two people who never really like each other because of who they are end up falling for each other anyway or somehow end up spending time together because of some unforeseen circumstance. The ultimate one for me right now (non-canon) is Haley and Andy from Modern Family. I mean she’s like this popular girl who’s too cool for school. He’s not that…cool and pretty nerdy but it just works. Another perfect example of the opposites attract is Ryuuji and Taiga from Toradora. Ryuuji is sweet and kind and loves doing housework and cooking but he has a face that makes him unapproachable to many people. Taiga, on the other hand, is super cute and short but she is actually irascible and has a really bad temper. Their interactions are just hilarious because they’re so different. Nina and Matthias from Six of Crows is kind of in that same vein. Nina is flirtatious and confident, Matthias more reserved and conservative and that just makes their interactions so interesting and fun to read because there’s always that tension, having these two personalities at odds with one another. The most recent one that I ship is Jonathan and Nancy from Stranger Things. I
know, I know, that the writers dared to actually have Steve undergo character development and that was such a pleasant surprise but please, you just can’t give me angsty stares and not have me ship Jancy. Again, I love the trope because these two people would have never crossed paths if it hadn’t been for the mystery of the strange creature.

 

6. Star-Crossed Lovers/Forbidden Love

This trope is so cliche but I eat it up like no other. I think, if done right, it’s actually one of the most insightful romantic tropes to be used. Forbidden love usually means there’s some societal, cultural, or familial aspect in the way of two people getting together. And if done right, this trope can prove what love makes people do. What are they willing to sacrifice for another and isn’t that one of the most romantic things of all? To defy the selfish nature of survival and humanity itself. My ultimate couple for this one has to Sharzhad and Khalid. They’re honestly one of my favorite couples in general of all time but Renee Ahdieh really plays this trope well because they will never apologize for loving the other person even though Khalid supposedly killed her best friend and Sharzhad is supposed to die.

Also, Khalid definitely knows how to talk.

They never deny their attraction to the other person which is common in forbidden love stories. The other couple that comes to mind is Evan and Maise from Unteachable because they understand how wrong on paper it is but they are attracted to each other and they’ll hide it but they won’t deny their attraction.

7. Rivals-Always competing against one another but everyone knows they should just hook up already

I think I first fell in love with this trope surprisingly when I read The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare himself. It was further cemented when I read The Night Circus, the two magicians, Celia and Marco being actual rivals in a deadly, magical game. I like this trope because it gives an automatic level of sexual tension above the others and it makes it so much more sweet when they do find common ground. This was especially true when I started shipping Keith and Lance from Voltron. They’re always bickering and trying to outdo the other person but when they share a serious moment, it is out of this world. Please be canon!!

And how could I forget Elizabeth and Darcy, always trying to outsass the other. Jane Austen probably knew what sexual tension was before it was even a thing.

8. Friends to Lovers

This trope is precious because often the feelings of love aren’t realized until something happens but that deep-seated love was always there even if the characters don’t see it but the audience does. Percabeth is a classic YA one but I also love Emma and Knightley from Emma and the webseries. Emma and Knightley have such a deep knowledge of the other person and it’s so endearing to watch them voice what the other person is already thinking.

 

9. Fake Relationship

This is my most recent favorite that I didn’t even know I liked but like friends to lovers, it deals with the concept of being so sure that the other person is just a friend or someone you thought was one thing to you but it turns out to be another. Fake relationships are fun because the person is using the other person to get someone else so they think they won’t fall for the other person. My favorite one so far is Peter and Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve loved Before. I also liked Gia and Hayden from The Fill-In Boyfriend though it’s not as well developed or endearing as Peter and Lara Jean.

OMG HOW ADORABLE. It’s Kitty, Lara Jean, and Peter!!  Credit

Of course, great OTPs will do these tropes well but they are also some combination of these tropes. Percy and Annabeth are a combination of the dynamic duo, the slow burn, the playfulness and a few shades of the opposites attract. What are some of your favorite tropes and your favorite otps that fall under these tropes. I obviously need more pairings to ship…obviously. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and if these ships have taught me anything, if you are in a good relationship, you’ll feel the love and respect you deserve everyday 🙂

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favorites · tv review · Uncategorized

My Favorite TV Shows of 2016

Hi! I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas or holiday yesterday. I spent it with my family eating good food and just catching up with them. I hadn’t seen some of my cousins for a while and it’s interesting what time will do to someone both physically and personality wise.

The last week of December is always my favorite because I get to reflect on the things I’ve read and watched over the year and compile and talk about my favorites. And as you probably know, I never get tired of talking about my favorite things. 2016 was if nothing else a really great TV year for me. If you look at my 2015 favorite TV shows, I tend to gravitate towards the comedy and the slightly weird. This year was actually really different and here’s why: the inclusion of kdramas and shows revolving around crime. These two categories of TV have always been polarizing to me and I thought I would never really enjoy one enough to call my favorite but it just goes to show you that you shouldn’t judge a genre of TV before you’ve really dug into its many different facets. I have 4 honorable mentions and 8 favorites and at the end, I list a couple of shows that I would like to get to in 2017. The honorable mentions have no particular order however I have ranked my favorites but some my favorites can be interchangeable. Bear in mind that I have only included new shows that were new to me this year. So shows like Brooklyn Nine Nine will not appear because even though I watched the new season this year, the show itself wasn’t new to me this year. Also, if you would like to know more of my thoughts for a certain show, click on the corresponding banner and it will lead you to my review. As always, if you have any recommendations for me based on what I’ve mentioned, I would love to know, I can never have too many shows to watch. Actually I can but I would like to think that I don’t.

Honorable Mentions

Signal.png

It’s a kdrama and a crime thriller, so who would have thought it would end up on my list but it was an amazing surprise. This show is the near perfect melding of character and plot. You would be surprised at how many shows fail to find this balance, when plot fails to be the proper catalyst for the character’s development or when the characters don’t get enough choices to advance a stagnant plot. I loved the exploration of the concepts of idealism and corruption of the police force through episodes of tightly-woven suspense, a blend of magical realism, thrilling soundtracks, and heartbreaking characters at its core.

the-night-of

I’ve been loving my limited series this year mostly because they are so binge worthy. The Night Of is comprised of subdued, monochromatic blues and grays which is fitting for its gritty and brutal examination of an oftentimes flawed justice system. A system that would rather paint the picture of innocence and guilt instead of finding the truth. It’s less concerned with plot (although it still has a decent one) and prison life (like in Orange is the New Black) than its characters and ideas.  But what emerges is a thought provoking drama that actually doesn’t answer the whodunit at the end but by then, it doesn’t really matter.

voltron-legendary-defender

Voltron is the type of show that I naturally gravitate towards and it does exactly what it set out to do. It’s a really fun and entertaining animated show featuring a diverse ensemble of characters that play off one another in funny and heartwarming ways. It’s one of those shows that can reach a wide audience, kids, teens or adults and still be fun to all. The animation is expertly done (what did you expect from the team behind Legend of Korra) and it never seems to run out of action-packed fight scenes and adventure to keep you on your toes.

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As of the time I’m writing this, I’m currently on episode 9 but I cannot imagine an honorable mentions list without it. I have to admit at points, I was more in love with the concept than the execution. And what a concept, I mean a surgeon from the real world accidently gets sucked into the world of a comic and falls in love with the main character. Please. That shit is my jam. And while it does fall into some unbelievable territory and tension-sucking tropes and the old mistake of consistently making the main female character’s story revolve around the male main character, I continued watching because of the gorgeous production value (I particularly loved the transitions between the comic art world and the real world), the nonstop action and plot twists, and of course, the romance (That handcuff kiss though; I’m shook). And although there is just so many loopholes and logic problems, this show boasts main leads that are as smart and capable as they come which to me, is kind of a staple of the thriller genre second only to the horror genre.

Favorites

the-ladies-paradise-1

When I started watching this, I was expecting an angst-fest similar to the likes of Downton Abbey. What I got instead was a sweet and touching story about one woman’s ingenuity working at London’s first department store with a surprising commentary on feminism, how a woman’s ideas often gets credited as their male counterpart’s work. What it lacks in plot, it compensates with a (mostly) lovable cast of characters that get their own resolutions. This show also cemented my aesthetic love for period pieces set during the Industrial Revolution (the latest being Peaky Blinders). The set design of the department store is so intricate and aesthetically pleasing and Denise, the main character, works for women’s fashion so there’s a lot of gorgeous costume designs. I’m sad to see that this show only got 2 seasons but it was sweet while it lasted.

friends-1

This had to be included in here somewhere. I cannot believe this is the first time that I’ve watched this series from start to finish. It’s so awesome how this show has stood the test of time and I can totally see why. It shows a deft hand when writing about friendships and relationships and at the end of the day, it is just hilarious. Everyone probably knows or is some parts Monica or Chandler or Joey or any of the Friends cast. I can’t wait to watch these again and again. I suspect that when I do, it’ll feel like a cozy cafe ready to invite me back. And you do not want to know how many times I’ve referenced “We were on a break” in outside conversation. It’s embarrassing.

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Do I really need to explain why I like this show? I don’t think so. Although I have to admit I might have been predisposed to like it because my favorite movie of all time is Super 8 and guess what it features: an 80’s suburban setting, middle school aged kids running around having adventures, themes of friendship and coming of age, and a supernatural alien. You can see why I might like Stranger Things..

love-2

I watched this near the beginning of the year and it has stuck with me ever since. This show is so completely underrated. It’s a romantic comedy following two eccentric characters but unlike most romantic comedies, the end goal is not necessarily for the two characters to be together but more about how people meet each other, how they perceive others and how they interact with other people. Of course, this is all helped by an amazing screenplay and great acting from the two main leads. It also has just the type of humor that I love where the two characters get into bizarre, derpy situations that are just hilarious and both of them are really sarcastic and wry. I can’t exactly explain why I love this show so much because it might seem just like any other comedy but there’s just this level of hard hitting emotion and truth that undercuts the episodes that elevate it above other comedies I’ve seen. Whether you like romantic comedies or not, please give this one a shot, you will not regret it.

The People vs. OJ Simpson.png

This show is so, so deserving of its 22 Emmy nominations including Outstanding Limited Series. I guess, in 2016, I’ve become as crime-obsessed as every other American. But inaccuracies aside, there is literally no weak point in this show. It’s such a compelling story told with so much sympathy for its characters under a shroud of ambiguity and never ending tension. It’s clear that this is more than just the biggest celebrity crime case in America, it’s about how these characters manipulate the changing racial and gender politics to bend to their agenda and win the case. The reason why this crime show is on my favorites and not The Night Of is because it keeps such a breakneck pace and no scene feels unnecessary and each character (from both the prosecution and the defendant side) feels as fully realized as if they were all the main characters. Although I have to admit I cannot see David Schwimmer as anyone but Ross however he was brilliant in this one so it’s ok. I finally understand why this case is so interesting to so many Americans and to this day, this case has still not been solved which is kind of bizarre to me.

We’re getting to my top three now. DRUMS PLEASE

superstore

It feels like I’ve been watching this show but I’ve only started this year. It’s crazy. If you saw my favorite TV shows from 2015, you’ll know that I included Parks and Recreation in that list and this show is very similar to it in feel. It follows a cast of eccentric but loveable characters working in a big box store that looks suspiciously like Walmart. It started as a sweet but forgettable comedy that grew into such a funny romp that makes the most of its funny situations. I cannot get enough of these comedies so it’s only natural this show would end up on my list.

descendants-of-the-sun

Just from the things I read and the TV I watch, you can probably tell I have a huge, huge soft spot for epic romances. Don’t be fooled by my jaded and pessimistic exterior, in my cold heart of stone sometimes there is nothing more pleasing to me than to see my OTP exchange witty banter and give swoon worthy, angsty looks at one another. And holy shit, did this drama deliver that for me featuring, let’s face it, such good looking actors (Soong Joong Ki, you slay me) and magnetic chemistry. Oh and a really good ost. And the best part was that it was so blissfully unproblematic in the romance department. Aside from that, this drama was just pure escapism for me, logic and reason be damned. I also know that objectively speaking, Signal is far superior drama in almost every way but I also know that when there was a scene with Kang Mo Yeon and Yoo Shi Jin flirting together, nothing could tear my eyes from the screen. Obviously, I’ve got my priorities straight. It also reminds me of happy times when I was watching this with my roommates eating ice cream until 4am screaming at the computer screen.

age-of-youth-4

While Descendants of the Sun delivered in the feels department, it lacks in its plot objectively but Age of Youth delivers on both fronts. It’s true that it’s quite a niche drama seeing that it will probably only appeal to people in their 20’s (most likely women) but hey that’s me. Don’t let that deter you from watching however, it is so well-crafted and such a gift to the coming of age genre. Age of Youth is ultimately an ode to friendship more specifically female friendship. It is funny, inspiring, and hopeful in all the right ways but more than anything it is a quiet melodrama that resonated with me, with who I was, who I am, and who I will be. I miss these girls already.

TV to watch in 2017

The Americans (long overdue)

Homeland (political thriller)

Please Like Me (another comedy)

WestWorld (against my better judgement; the hype’s getting to me)

Narcos (show about drugs is all I know LOL)

Sense8 (Why haven’t I seen this yet?)

And that’s it! My top TV shows of 2016! I hope there is more good TV to come in 2017; I can’t wait to watch them all. Winter break is almost over so watch these before you’re too busy to 😉 Let me know what your favorite TV shows of 2016 were and if we have any of the same ones!

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Misc · Uncategorized · What I've Been Watching

What I’ve Been Watching: June/July/August

Yeah, I’ve watched a few things these past few months. Once again, I’ve listed the order I’m reviewing/ranting about them down in the list below. The bolded ones are my favorites out of the bunch and I’ve included trailers for each one. Without further ado, let me share them with you =)

Movies                                              

Horror

  • The Ring
  • Mirrors
  • Occulus

Science Fiction

  • The Force Awakens
  • Mockingjay
  • Star Trek
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Star Trek Beyond

Historical

  • The Duchess

TV

Science Fiction

  • Mr. Robot
  • Stranger Things
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender (cartoon)

Realistic

  • It’s Okay That’s Love (Kdrama)
  • Unreal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ring

This was a decent horror movie but I don’t understand why it’s considered a classic. There were some scary moments (omg the part when the girl climbs out of the TV..*shudders*) but the storyline especially the backstory behind the videotape wasn’t really that compelling to me.

 

 

 


Mirrors

 

My thoughts: This actually might be the worst horror movie I’ve seen in my life. People told me to watch it just for the scene where the girl in the bathtub peels off her face with her bare hands but the special effects were so bad that I just laughed. There was no sense of character, plot, or logic. In this one part, the security guard goes into the abandoned house and he’s looking at the mirror and for some reason, a random bird flies out of a bush inside this decrepit, old building. Please, director. You’re not scaring anyone and you know it. This movie was a hot mess; please stay away from it with a ten-foot pole.


Oculus

 

I’m a little embarrassed to admit I haven’t finished this movie and I don’t really care anymore. It was just a little boring. I stopped halfway through and at that point they were still setting up the scare. It is one of the smarter horror films though that doesn’t rely on jump scares to frighten and actually has a compelling storyline.

 

 


Mockingjay

 

I actually liked it more than I thought I would and I discuss why here.


The Force Awakens

Ummmmmm, I was slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I completely adored the action scenes especially the one at the end with Rey. I love that a woman is the main protagonist of such an iconic series (how many times in blockbuster movies do you see women going through the hero’s journey?) It was almost jarring to see a woman being part of big prophecies that are usually reserved for underdog heroes (usually white males). Love C3PO and the return of Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and Hans. What I didn’t like is the fact that the character development was a little off especially for Finn and at the end, SPOILER Hans died and everyone was like ok, moving on now.

Star Trek (2009)

Rewatching this movie after watching Star Trek Beyond really shows how much these characters have grown. I really loved the plot in this one and the development of the crew’s relationships along with its trademark humor. This movie definitely has a focus on Kirk and Spock. I know that the first two movies don’t stick all that much to the original but I think they stand really well on their own. Aside from the lack of female presence, I completely adore these movies as far as blockbusters go. They have just the right balance of scifi opera fun with smart and poignant character relationships and moments.


Star Trek Into Darkness

  • My favorite of the trilogy so far
  • I did wish they had casted a POC for Khan because that was what he was but Benedict Cumberbatch is a magnificent actor albeit a little too dramatic at times. But he actually makes a challenging opponent.
  • The scene with Carol Marcus still makes me cringe so hard and it’s so blatantly gratuitous that I’m wondering what the writers were even thinking at that part.
  • The ending where Kirk is risking his life always makes me emotional *sigh* I just love Kirk and Spock’s relationship
  • I love the chase scene between Spock and Khan

Star Trek Beyond

  • The action scenes really shine esp the ones on the ship (I mean what did I expect from The Fast and Furious director)
  • I completely adore the relationship between Bones and Spock
  • I seriously wish Uhura had more to do than just say pretty things; it’s a disrespect to her character
  • I love the addition of Jaylah but her story arc was done by the middle of the movie and then she was just pointless after that smh so much potential

 

 


The Duchess

I don’t think you can go wrong when Keira Knightley stars in a period piece even if the hairstyles are so freaking ridiculous haha. Her acting in this one is brilliant per usual and the storyline is heartbreaking. I’m actually quite surprised at how complex the person she was arranged to be married with was. Clearly, the audience was not meant to like him but he shows a depth that could have been swept under the rug. Another surprising thing was that this movie is actually quite a nod to feminism which was cool. The ending was a little unsatisfying for me mostly because I just wanted her character to be happy…


TV

Science Fiction

Mr. Robot

Currently on: Season 2, ep 2

Mr. Robot is sort of a cross between Fight Club and American Psycho. It might be a show about hacking but it’s predominantly interested in the human psyche and social commentary: our reliance on technology and societal constraints. The social commentary can get annoyingly heavy handed in my opinion and simplifies the issue way too much which is ironic since this is a pretty complex show in terms of character. It’s definitely not your average digestible drama with a linear, fast plotline and easily labeled characters which is really refreshing. It’s slow and oftentimes confusing (imo) because it alternates a lot between the Elliot’s state of mind and what is actually happening. I’m in love with Rami Malek’s acting. You really can’t keep your eyes off him (the things he does with his eyes). In addition to brilliant acting, the cinematography is uniquely stylized and its electronic score is to die for.


Stranger Things

The hype is definitely deserved for this show. It’s an 80’s inspired supernatural show with horror elements that’s very reminiscent of things like ET, Stand by Me, The Goonies, Super 8 (coincidentally my favorite movie ever), and Stephen King novels. In fact I’m starting to think that ’80’s parents don’t know where their kids are half the time, that all ’80’s boys really like Dungeons and Dragons and that ’80s high school kids were actually separated into the loners and the popular kids. But it does enough things differently that make it stand out. The mystery aspect (what is this weird demon thing and where the fuck is Will) is consistently engaging and kept me on the edge of my seat. The acting is so well done and I love the chemistry between the group ensemble. The themes of friendship and loyalty between the characters are heartwarming and really make you care. There’s also a few truly creepy scenes that were really exciting. Btw my header came from the lovely makeitstranger.com logo generator.


Voltron

I adored this so much that I did a full review of it here.


Realistic

It’s Okay That’s Love

On the lovely recommendation of Summer over @xingsings, I decided to watch this kdrama. Her review does it way more justice than I do so you should check it out. I must say the strength in this drama lies in its character chemistry, both between the main characters and the side characters. And it’s so refreshing to see a kdrama embrace female sexuality more. It reminded me a lot of It’s Kind of a Funny Thing by Ned Vizzini where it explores mental illness in a humorous and endearing way (albeit at times really inaccurate) and it has a little romantic subplot between our two main characters who have mental illnesses. It definitely leans more towards the vibrant and optimistic side of things than the dark but it doesn’t skimp on the dark emotion especially near the end.


Unreal

This show was such a pleasant surprise. Never in my life did I think I would like a show about a fictional version of The Bachelor. But I love it. The characters are despicable but utterly compelling, especially the two main ones whose relationship resembles Walter’s and Jesse’s from Breaking Bad. The writing is top-notch and the drama doesn’t hold any punches. It just gets more and more dramatic and intense as each episode goes on but never in a way that I felt was unbelievable or shocking just to be shocking. The ways in which Quinn and Rachel manipulate the show and the contestants is so disgusting but so clever at the same time, you can’t help but see how it unfolds. It was also a very unique satire on reality TV and the way that women tear each other apart.

Which ones have you seen? What did you think of them? Are you planning on watching on any of these? I would love to hear your thoughts! =)

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