The Aftermath of ClexaCon

So it’s been about a week since I got back to LA after ClexaCon and wow, what a weekend.

First of all, to anyone reading this who bought my book or took a sticker or a flyer or politely declined or talked to me for a little, THANK YOU. This was my first convention of any kind and my first convention selling these books of mine. It was a very overwhelming experience, in a good way, and I am so thankful. Also, a big shout out to Melanie for going on this journey with me. You only recognized one person (and not even for the show they were invited to ClexaCon for), but I’m glad you got to see the gym teacher from Lizzie McGuire.

Second of all, the whole atmosphere of ClexaCon was dope. Like it was so cool to be surrounded by so many positive, loving people all weekend. I could not have felt more welcomed. Also, a shout out to Dominique from Wynonna Earp for chatting with me about my book for a good couple of minutes. You are very charming and I’m sorry I don’t really watch your show, but thank you.

Third of all, if any of y’all out there who bought the book have opinions on it, leave a review for it on Amazon or Goodreads? Maybe? Please? I’m trying to build some cred and it’d mean the world to me.

Fourth of all, the weekend finally inspired me to start watching The L Word for the very first time. That’s right. Ya girl has been out of the closet for roughly seven years and has never seen The L Word. How is that possible? Who even am I??? Well, I’ll tell you who I am: Dana Fairbanks’ Number One Fan and Jenny Schecter’s Number One Enemy. Seriously, Jenny is the absolute worst and I don’t know how I’m supposed to live with her nonsense. Especially after her manatee GARBAGE. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel self-conscious about my writing after having to endure the utter trash that is Jenny’s meanderings about manatees.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m almost through a seven-day work week. I can’t say I recommend coming back from ClexaCon and going into a seven-day work week. Not that my job is insanely taxing, but I’d just like to be seeing movies and not working. I think that’s how most people feel.

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ClexaCon or Bust

The time is almost here, kids. It’s almost time for me and one of my best friends (what’s up, Melanie?!) to put this show on the road and head out to Vegas. That’s right, I’ll be there selling my two books at booth 220. Come say hey!

Orrrrr maybe you found your way here because you picked up a free sticker at my table at ClexaCon and wanted to know what I’m all about. In which case, hi, hello, hope you’re enjoying yourself in Vegas and I hope you said hi and didn’t just grab a sticker silently. (Although, if you did, I don’t blame ya, but I promise I’m not scary.)

Anyway, I’m here to let you know that I’ve got a fancy new website: tinakakadelis.com. I may have a new website, but I also ordered a whole bunch of stickers with this URL on it and hindsight is 20/20. So, stick around on this blog for my musings on pop culture and checkout my website to see how fancy I can be.

Until next time ✌️

I Wrote a Book (Again)

What’s up, world? I’m back again with another novel to talk about ad nauseum, at least until the third and final installment of the Carly Allen Trilogy comes out. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t even talked to you about the second book and here I am jumping the gun.

So let’s circle back around to book numero dos.

It’s called I Didn’t Start the Fire and it picks up a couple months after Burn Before Reading ends. Carly and all her friends are heading off to college in different parts of the country, and it’s the first time any of them are on their own. It’s the end of summer and the beginning of the rest of their lives.

The book’s sweet and a little sad, just like life is. There are plenty of new characters and all your favorites return. (Hi, if you don’t have any favorites, may I suggest you read the first book in preparation?)

It’s also got a bunch of songs in there, like Dave Matthews Band’s Crash into Me, Springsteen’s Growin’ Up, and a Rick Springfield deep cut or two. I make some dumb jokes about Transformers, so it’s really just an all-around great time.

If you don’t believe me, check out these rave reviews from the first book (and a look at the back cover):

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Check it out maybe?

Also, ClexaCon, the LGBT convention in Vegas, is just a few months away and ya girl is gonna be there. I’ll have stickers, both books, and a hot pink record player with me. That’s right. My little table is going to be dope as hell. Come visit and I’ll hook you up with a sticker and an autograph.

Oh, and in case ya’ll were wondering about my film watching habits, here’s your round-up since we last talked:

3/08 – Thoroughbreds

3/09 – Carol

3/10 – A Wrinkle in Time

3/11 – The Edge of Seventeen

3/12 – Thoroughbreds

“It is the Titular Role!”

It’s been a while since we chatted about my New Year’s film resolution and again, I know everyone is on pins and needles. So let’s get into it, shall we?

2/24 – Mistress America

2/25 – Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

2/26 – Clueless

2/27 – Frances Ha

2/28 – The Host

3/01 – Frances Ha

3/02 – Sweet Home Alabama

3/03 – Creed

3/04 – Frances Ha

3/05 – Game Night

3/06 – The Cured

3/07 – Lady Bird

You may have noticed that Frances Ha shows up a grand total of three times in six days and you may think that doesn’t count to my movie a day quest, but I never said I couldn’t re-watch movies. I don’t know. Frances Ha just seems like the kind of movie I need at this moment in my life.

Lady Bird‘s there again because ya girl finally owns a copy of the DVD and what a pretty DVD it is. Shoutout to A24 for being responsible for the vast majority of my DVD collection. I watched it the day after I got it because it’s very nice to be able to cry in the comfort of your own home as opposed to a theatre with strangers. Also, if you haven’t read the screenplay, please look it up. I read the screenplay and then watched it and the way Greta describes everything is just such an absolute treat. I don’t want to spoil it for you. I think you need to experience it for yourself.

Game Night was a movie that pleasantly shocked me. I went in with the lowest of low expectations and because I love Billy Magnussen. He plays the bimbo so beautifully well and his comedic timing is unstoppable. I also didn’t realize I had a crush on Rachel McAdams, but like…wow. My only real issue with the movie was having Rachel McAdams be married to Jason Bateman and not to me. I just really hate large age differences like that. Also, Jesse Plemmons. What a performance. Why did I thoroughly enjoy this movie??

So basically all my life I’ve been pretty confident I’m gay. HOWEVER, Michael B. Jordan…like I get it. I understand straight girls and gay men now. Like I GET it. Michael B. Jordan could get it. Anyway, I watched Creed because I’m in love with both Tessa Thompson and Michael B. Jordan. I still don’t really understand boxing and why they randomly embrace in the middle of boxing matches, but I enjoyed myself.

The Cured was basically just the poor man’s iZombie. Which, by the way, please watch iZombie. They’re doing real cool stuff over there and no one’s watching it. Please don’t let the zombie thing turn you away from giving it a chance. It’ll fill the Veronica Mars-shaped hole in your heart, I promise. But was The Cured a metaphor for the potato famine?

Sweet Home Alabama. I’m sorry, Mom, I deeply love southern accents. I don’t how I could disappoint the family name like this, but I’m sorry. I was born this way and I can’t change. Please try to find it in your heart to accept me.

The Host was just rough, and I don’t know if I can ever forgive Diane Kruger and Saoirse Ronan for putting me through this. (I’ve already forgiven them.)

I guess that’s it for now. My mom thinks I should write more often, but that seriously cuts into my aimlessly strolling through Target time so I don’t know if that’ll happen. I hope someone gets a movie recommendation from one of these posts, or at least learns what movies to stay away from. As always, follow me on Letterboxd because that gets updated every day with the new movie.

ALSO. HOW COULD I FORGET????

The proof of my second book arrived the other day. Look how pretty it is!

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The second book should available to you the first week or so of April. Get stoked.

Greta the Great

(Hi, the Academy is a joke and not hella tight at ALL.)

I raise your Marvel and DC cinematic universes and introduce you to the Greta Gerwig Cinematic Universe™️. An idea that I did not personally use those words to describe, but an idea that’s been circling around in my head since my first viewing of Lady Bird.

The films are as follows:

Lady Bird

Mistress America

Frances Ha

The order of the films released is actually the opposite of how I just listed them. Frances was first, then Mistress, and finally Lady Bird last last year. The first time I heard of Greta Gerwig was when I was visiting my parents on a holiday from college and I was up late browsing their on demand channels. Mistress America popped up and it sounded like the kind of indie movie I would love. Little did I know that it would hit me like a freight train.

The story’s about Tracy, who moves to New York to go to college. Her dream is to be a writer and she’s having a hard time figuring out where exactly her place is in New York. It’s a huge city and she feels very small. Her mother recommends calling her soon-to-be stepsister, Brooke.

Brooke is the embodiment of New York City. She lives in Times Square because when she got off the bus, she thought that’s where all the cool people lived. She’s “the last cowboy, all romance and failure.” Gerwig may not have the sole writing credit on the film, but I would bet everything that line was hers.

Frances Ha is the story of a woman in New York City trying to make it into the dance company she teaches for. Its style is very similar to Lady Bird in that we don’t see every single day of Frances’ life, but we see little vignettes that add up to her life. We see her bounce from apartment to apartment and lose her best friend to her new fiancé.

Gerwig shares a writing credit on Frances and Mistress and stars in both. Lady is all her own. Written and directed by her. It’s the only one she doesn’t star in. Having now seen Lady, it is so clear that so much of Frances and Mistress came from Gerwig.

At their hearts, they’re each about love stories that rarely get shown in pop culture. Lady is about a mother and daughter, Frances is between two best friends, and Mistress is about stepsisters. They’re also movies that are deeply embedded in their place. Frances and Mistress HAVE to take place in New York City and Lady HAS to take place in Sacramento.

They’re also about women falling in love with themselves, which is something not a lot of movies focus on. Lady Bird, Frances, and Tracy are by no means perfect, but the thing that unites them all is that they’re trying. Lady Bird is eighteen, Tracy is a college freshman, and Frances is twenty-seven. Ages where it feels like they should know who they are, but they’re still figuring it out. All of them are very unashamedly searching for what they want. We see Lady Bird fearlessly go after the boys she likes, Tracy goes after her writing dream (but remains indecisive about the right pasta), and Frances goes after being in the dance company. All of them stumble and all of them triumph in their own way. All of them are embarrassed they’re not real people yet and that’s okay. None of us are.

All of these movies tug on my heart because they’re so specific and honest. I think when you’re able to hone in on personal feelings so intensely, you end up creating something that’s universal. Again, Gerwig only shares writing credits on Mistress, but I’m willing to bet all the money in the world she’s responsible for this:

I think I’m sick, and I don’t know if my ailment has a name. It’s just me sitting and staring at the internet or the television for long periods of time, interspersed by trying to not do that and then lying about what I’ve been doing. And then I’ll get so excited about something that the excitement overwhelms me and I can’t sleep or do anything and I just am in love with everything but can’t figure out how to make myself work in the world.

That feeling is so specific, and as soon as she said those words, it was like something clicked in my brain. That was how I felt then and how I feel sometimes now. There are all of these really great things I’m sure I could be doing and I’m ready to do them, but it’s so easy to lose myself in feeling like there’s not enough time in the day. You push your dreams to tomorrow and always tomorrow and then before you know it, you don’t have anymore tomorrows. I am in love with everything and sometimes the fear of figuring out my place in all of this feels insurmountable.

Just for fun and because I have no self-control, I’m going to share with you my favorite quote from Frances Ha. It shows exactly what I mean about creating something so specific that it becomes universal. Just like the quote from Mistress, Frances has this moment where something very personal and in-character is said, but something that is like a freight train to the heart. Again, I’m willing to bet the credit belongs to Gerwig:

It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it… but it’s a party… and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining… and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes… but – but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual… but because… that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s – That’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.

One thing about her writing/directing process that I found fascinating is that so little of it is improv. And by so little, I mean none of it. Her writing is so strong that everything that needs to be said is already on the page. That only adds to her honesty because she understands who her characters are on a fundamental level.

I was reading the script to Lady Bird last night and it was absolutely magical. Only a few small things changed, but it’s all there. Here’s Greta describing one of my favorite moments in the film:

Marion drives back home. It is romantic somehow. She loves these streets, loves the turns she knows so well. When she’s not resenting the stuck-ness of her own life she has an enormous capacity to love it. Remember this moment with Marion.

I’m not sure this blog post adequately describes the love I feel for all three of these movies. They’ve come into my life at very specific times, but I wrote this post-Oscars while re-watching Frances Ha for the third time in five days. To steal Lady Bird’s last lines, thank you. Some of the winners from last night will fade into obscurity, but Lady Bird won’t. This is the type of movie that our kids will watch and their kids will watch and their kids will watch too. The technology and the look of the world will change, but the love that courses through that movie won’t. It’s a movie built on love, and unless there’s a day where there’s no more love in the world, Lady Bird will always ring true.

Make America Greta Always

Brunch or Bust

Hi. Hello. I’m back. It’s been a while again. I’m aware. I have just returned to my apartment after a relaxing time in Palm Springs.

I’d never been before, but consider me a big, big fan now. Palm Springs is still stuck in the seventies and eighties and I live for that architecture and commitment to neon.

Anyway, I’m not here to tell you about the atmosphere of Palm Springs. I’m here to tell you about the ridiculous morning I had.

First of all, shout out to Elyse and Alex for experiencing this with me. Second of all, shout out to Alex’s hotel discount. Third of all, no shout out goes to our brunch establishment.

The plan was to get breakfast somewhere on the main little drag of downtown and then wander around there for awhile. The two of them found a place they’d been to in another part of California and we agreed to try out the Palm Springs location.

Now, before we go forward, lemme talk to my mother. Hi, mom. I promise we were being safe.

We ordered mimosas. We weren’t planning on driving back until much, much later in the afternoon and since I was the only one who could drive the stick shift car I drove us in, I did not partake in the bottomless mimosas. I did, however, order a mimosa flight because 1. that’s the best thing I’d ever heard of 2. it was 9 a.m. and we were at least like seven hours away from driving, and 3. we were about to eat a heavy, heavy breakfast.

Our waiter takes our order and we wait. The mimosas arrive and look how cute my flight was:

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We’re enjoying ourselves drinking and chatting and then our waiter comes back over looking a little nervous. Now this is entirely irrelevant to the story, but our waiter looked exactly like a young One Tree Hill-era Chad Michael Murray.

So Chad Michael Murray comes up to the table and is like I’m so sorry, but the health inspector just came by and failed us because of the water pressure, so we can’t serve you guys your breakfast.

At this point, we’re all about a mimosa in on an empty stomach, banking on this breakfast to negate the champagne. Chad Michael Murray assures us we don’t have to pay for anything…except the alcohol, which is the only thing we’ve had at this point.

Not one to abandon alcohol, we all commit to finishing our drinks, with the other two getting another mimosa so their bottomless mimosas makes sense financially.

One lady apparently tried to discourage Chad from bringing us drinks, but just like Lucas in every season of One Tree Hill, he didn’t listen to the woman.

I can say with utmost confidence that having three pretty generously poured mimosas on an absolutely empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. We were a giggling mess in downtown Palm Springs. I had to take a seat outside the restaurant to let the wave of nausea pass. Later, I laid down in front of a random fountain and then bought a new jacket at H&M. Elyse almost bought weird $5 spy glasses that would’ve let her see behind her. We talked her out of it, but I think she still regrets not buying them.

Every time I had to speak to someone, this gif was just playing in my head:

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I’m sure everyone knew we were out of our minds.

Somehow, we walked a MILE to this Mexican restaurant where, after copious amounts of chips, salsa, guacamole, tacos, rice, and water, I became a sober member of society again. Four hours after the whole health inspector debacle.

We later decided to go to this cool hotel where we think a convention was being held? I have absolutely NO idea what the convention was about except La Croix was there. Because I’m California trash, I enjoy a La Croix now and again. Waterloo is my preferred sparkling water brand because I am terrible and have a preferred sparkling water brand. Anyway, I now have a La Croix keychain, so it’s safe to say Palm Springs was a weird time.

And since I’m sure you’re all dying to know my movie progress, here ya go:

2/14 – The Last Five Years

2/15 – The Witness

2/16 – Black Panther

2/17 – Newtown

2/18 – What to Expect When You’re Expecting

2/19 – Hercules

2/20 – Mother’s Day

2/21 – Lady Bird

2/22 – Annihilation

2/23 – Moonstruck

2/24 – Mistress America

2/25 – Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

2/26 – Clueless

2/27 – Frances Ha

Hi, 911, an Animated Movie About a Boy Named Zucchini Made Me Feel Too Much

Alright alright alright. Back again with the movies. In case you were worried about my well-being, yes, I am going out to see the sunshine. Yes, I am socializing. I sadly could not become a hermit to accomplish this task. If I could somehow finagle it so I don’t have to socialize and don’t have to work and don’t have to see the sunshine and just watch movies all day, I would. Alas, I cannot.

My mom called me today and said I should write more on this blog again like I used to. She said my posts were getting too long. Oops.

On February 7th I watched Princess Cyd. I’ve been waiting for this movie to become available for a very long time. I think it did a little bit of the festival circuit and was generally well-received. Plus, it’s gay so it’s basically a given that I’d eventually watch it. The movie is about Cyd, who spends a few weeks over the summer with her aunt who’s a famous author. Cyd’s mom and brother died when she was young and she and her dad don’t get along. They decide to let Cyd stay with her aunt for a couple weeks because she’s contemplating college in Chicago. I thought it was okay. A solid three outta five.

The main downfall to this movie is that I feel as though the writer/director had a very good idea, but he just didn’t know how to execute it. A lot of movies and pop culture feel like in order for their movie to be interesting, Something Big has to happen. On the flip side, lots of smaller-budget indies don’t feel like anything needs to happen for a movie to be interesting. There’s a difference between having something happen for the sake of having something happen and having everything stay stagnant.

Does that make sense or did I just say “happen” eight hundred times for no reason?
When it comes to Princess Cyd, it seems like certain events occurred not for any added meaning to the story, but because the filmmakers got worried that not enough was going on. Not to bring everything back to Lady Bird, but I’m going to bring everything back to Lady Bird. One of the things Greta does exceptionally well is recognize that the movie doesn’t have to be hinged on a big dramatic moment, that life itself is honest enough to keep our attention. I wish Princess Cyd had let Cyd’s life speak for itself a little more.

The next movie I watched was My Life as a Zucchini, which was nominated for an Oscar a couple years ago. I was not expecting a movie about weird, misshapen, clay children to make me feel that much and YET.

The movie’s about a boy named Zucchini who lives with his mother who drinks too much. Due to circumstances that I won’t spoil for you, he ends up being taken to an orphanage with other kids whose parents are no longer part of their lives. Listen, this movie is great and I cried and I have zero complaints. What a MOVIE.

I also watched one of Netflix’s original movies, When We First Met. I don’t know why. I usually watch trash like this for cute actresses, but I didn’t know any of the actresses going in. Honestly, I clicked on it because it was the banner on Netflix and it looked mindless, and mindless garbage was exactly what I needed.

The movie is about Noah, who met a girl named Avery at a Halloween party three years ago. He’s dressed as Wayne and she’s a Rockford Peach. They have the most perfect night, but it ends with a hug and Noah bemoans the fact that he’s now in the friend zone. Fast forward to three years later and Avery is marrying Ethan. Noah gets very drunk at their party before stumbling to the jazz bar he works at and collapsing into the photo booth. Coincidentally, it’s the same photo booth from that fateful first night with Avery. Magic things happen and suddenly it’s three years ago on the morning of the party where he meets Avery. It’s pretty much Groundhog Day: The Rom-Com from there on out.

As the movie progresses, he learns that the Rockford Peach Halloween costume was Carrie, who is Avery’s roommate. Carrie is the reason Avery knew jazz, and he learns that all the things he liked about Avery actually were from Carrie. Here’s the thing. I’m all for the trope of realizing you’ve been in love with someone else the whole time, but it has to be earned. In the real timeline, he spent no time with Carrie. How is he best friends with Avery and yet never really spoke to Avery’s roommate and best friend? That just seems like a damn lie. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief for a time-traveling photo booth, but if you expect me to believe that Noah wouldn’t know Avery’s roommate even though they’ve been friends for three years, you’re a FOOL.

I guess one of the things I have to applaud this movie for is that they kinda say that the friend zone is a lie. Half-heartedly, at least. Noah spends the majority of the movie believing he’s the one who deserves to be with Avery and he keeps fucking with time because he thinks this is the outcome that’s right. Never mind the fact that Avery ends up meeting and marrying my boy Robbie Amell, who’s just the best dude. It takes the whole damn movie to realize that maybe they’re just supposed to be friends. As though the concept of friends is wildly new to him.

Everything Before Us was next. It’s one of those movies with a very interesting premise that would’ve been a really great movie if the script and lead actors were better. The movie takes place in the distant future where you have to register your relationships with the Department of Emotional Intelligence. Based on how the relationship goes, your score either decreases or increases. Like, if you cheat on somebody, your score plummets. If you want to break up, you have to go to the DEI, which looks as miserable as the DMV, and file a report. A non-biased third party will decide how much of the blame for the termination belongs to you. It’s basically that Black Mirror with Bryce Dallas Howard, but with an almost entirely Asian cast so that was pretty cool to see.

It was a fine movie. Not one I’ll rave about, but not one that felt tedious to watch like When We First Met. As far as movies with companies looking after love lives, I think Timer is a much better option.

I watched The Circle exclusively for Emma Watson. How a movie with John Boyega, Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Karen Gillan could be so profoundly terrible is a genuine mystery that will haunt me until the day I die. Also, I don’t think I’d seen Karen Gillan in a movie before and now I’ve seen her in two movies in two weeks. Am I a Karen Gillan fan now?

But like, what was The Circle actually trying to say? Were they supportive or transparent or is technology bad? Why did Emma Watson have five computer screens in front of her at one point in time? Also, logistically, that whole total transparency didn’t make sense. It turned off for three minutes for her to go to the bathroom and that was seemingly the only time. So was Emma Watson just wildly broadcasting herself naked when she showered/changed clothes?? Anyway, this movie was as bad as everyone said it was.

The next movie I watched for this round-up was The Way He Looks and ohmygod it’s the cute, heart-warming LGBT movie I’ve been looking for.

It’s about a blind boy named Leo who has an overprotective mother and desperately wants to feel like he has every opportunity to live his own life. A new boy comes to school and they become fast friends. In the beginning of the movie, Leo’s friend Gi bemoans the fact that they don’t have grand adventures and romantic loves. Well, I’m not gonna spoil things for you, but by the end of the movie, Leo might have some adventures and some grand love.

Last movie was Maze Runner: The Death Cure. Listen, I’m not even sure I knew what was going on at any point in the movie. I saw the other two movies when they were in theatres, and I remember the first one was pretty good for a dystopian teen flick. However, I still don’t even know why they were running in the maze to begin with. I just read all three Wikipedia articles for the movies and there’s still no good reason why they had to run in a maze.

About midway through this movie it dawned on me that we’re probably never going to get the final movie in the Divergent franchise and it’s wild to me that we’ve all just let that slip from our minds. Like how badly did the second and third movies do that they didn’t feel it warranted an ending? I mean, did Maze Runner really do that much better? At least Divergent made sense.

Lady Bird and the Idea of Something

So I’m going to try to do at least an update every seven or so days. I’m not sure anyone at all is invested in my quest to watch a movie a day for a year, but on the off chance someone is, I got ya covered. At the very least, maybe you’ll get a movie recommendation out of this.

I started off the month with Sadie’s Last Days on Earth. This was a tiny little Canadian indie film that I eventually found out was directed by the dude who used to be in the Canadian TV show Life With Derek. The Canadian film/TV industry is actually quite tiny it seems. Anyway, since I’m sure this movie is on none of your radars, I’ll give you a brief rundown.

Sadie has always struggled with anxiety and a school project about natural disasters kicks her worry up a level. She becomes fully convinced that the end of the world is coming and goes into disaster prepping mode. She converts her bedroom into a bunker and takes precautions to make sure that when the earth ends (when, not if), she’ll be ready. She only leaves her bunker for school and even then, she only shows up as long as she needs to be there.

Since the world is ending, she decides to make a bucket list of things she wants to do before she’s one of the last survivors. The movie becomes an endearing adventure of Sadie trying to overcome her anxiety to let herself become a part of the world for however long it’s got left. At the end of the day, high school kinda feels like the end of the world, too.

February 2nd was Atonement. I hadn’t seen this movie since I was a teenager when I probably, unknowingly, had a crush on Kiera Knightley after Pride and Prejudice and Pirates of the Caribbean. I don’t think I knew what was going on in the movie at ALL back then. If you haven’t seen it, the movie’s on Netflix and it is GOOD. Li’l baby Saoirse Ronan (talk about never finding your name on a keychain) is in it and Kiera Knightley was born to be in period pieces.

The movie also has one of the most spectacular single shots I have ever seen. All last year, I talked about how great some of La La Land‘s long takes were, but how FOOLISH I was back then. Honestly, Atonement‘s sweeping five-minute single take of the beach at Dunkirk is better than any moment in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. There. I said it. I don’t get what all the hype surrounding Dunkirk is when Atonement already went and made that masterpiece.

February 3rd was I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. Did they get this title from a list of rejected Fall Out Boy song names because good lord is it long. As for the movie itself, I still don’t really know how I feel about it. The story is a bit odd and the ending took a massive left turn and I think I was okay with it? This is one of those movies that I watched and I’m not really sure how I felt about it. Like it didn’t really make me feel anything.

Also, when did Elijah Wood start doing these bizarre bit parts?? Like good for him, I guess. Fun fact about Elijah Wood. One time I talked to him about firewood. Gotta love Los Angeles.

February 4th was The Cloverfield Paradox. I don’t get why everyone’s all upset about this movie. Like was it the best movie I’ve ever seen? No. Was it a fun, suspenseful movie in space starring the light of my life, Gugu Mbatha-Raw? Yes. I thought it was a good time for what it is and maybe that’s because I don’t watch too many sci-fi monster movies. I’ve heard a lot of comparisons between this and Life and maybe if I’d seen Life, I would’ve been let down.

I’ll be honest, despite having seen both The Cloverfield Paradox and 10 Cloverfield Lane, I haven’t actually seen Cloverfield. I could care less about how these stories all connect. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t being overly critical about it. I mean, I personally think everything about 10 Cloverfield Lane is phenomenal except for the part where they turn it into a monster movie. The tense drama of three strangers living in an underground bunker is much more fascinating than any monster movie in my opinion because John Goodman’s fragile masculinity is the greatest villain of all!

So, yeah, I thought it was fun. There were questions that didn’t get answered and usually that bugs me, but I guess seeing Tom Brady cry put me in a forgiving mood.

February 5th was Lady Bird. OSCAR 😭 NOMINATED 😭 DIRECTOR 😭 GRETA 😭 GERWIG. I’m so proud of her. The amount of love that went into this film is incredible. The way Greta Gerwig feels about this movie is the way every single director should feel about the movie they’re making. I’m rooting for her for Best Director mostly because of the letter she wrote to Dave Matthews.

Something struck me this viewing (viewing number five for those keeping score at home) that I don’t think really dawned on me before. Hunter Harris, an associate editor for Vulture, said this about the movie:

in the first scene, lady bird complains that she wants to live through something. it’s nice to see a movie suggest, in every scene, that being seventeen and ambitious and messy and selfish and madly desirious counts as Something

Watching this movie, not that many obvious Something moments happen. I mean, when people say they want to live through Something, they mean a grand adventure. That’s certainly what Lady Bird means when she says it in the car at the beginning of the movie. To her, nothing ever happens in Sacramento. Even her brother seeing someone get knifed in front of the public high school isn’t that life-altering. It’s more just a nuisance because it’s the reason she has to go to Immaculate Fart Heart.

However, like Harris points out, Gerwig spends the entire movie compiling important moments, and while the movie moves in a linear fashion, the style stands out because we don’t see each day. We may see today and tomorrow and then skip to next week. It’s almost like Lady Bird is looking back on these memories when she’s older, seeing now that she did live through Something.

That eating Communion wafers and talking about masturbating with your best friend is Something. That kissing a sweet boy in a cowboy outfit is Something. That losing your virginity to a lying boy is Something. That spending a Sunday morning looking at Open Houses with your mom is Something. That riding to school with your dad is Something. That sharing a Clove with your brother’s girlfriend is Something. That getting high for the first time on Thanksgiving and giggling and eating microwave dinners with your friends is Something. That being young and foolish and angry and energetic and happy and lonely and stupid and fearless is Something.

Teenage girls don’t get enough credit. They’re ridiculed for feeling too much and being loud and for liking what they like. Lady Bird is a love letter to the miraculousness of being a teenage girl and that is Something.

My parents have now seen Lady Bird and the gist of their feelings toward the movie can be summed up in one word: Sad.

On February 6th, I watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and my expectations were low. Everyone kept saying this movie was very good and eventually I just had to see for myself. It was…fine. I probably laughed a total of four times and I’m shocked that Jack Black was my favorite part of it?? I do have to give the movie some credit for letting a seemingly super-vain teenage girl save the day, even if she did it as Jack Black.

I will say that I wish a couple more jokes could’ve been at the expense of the ridiculous outfit they put Karen Gillan in.

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Video games are known for the ridiculous, impractical outfits they put their female characters in, and with all the other cute video game references, I really wish they would’ve gone a little harder on the critique. I mean, they had her ask for Jack Black’s jacket because she felt like she was basically wearing a bikini and then didn’t even put it on?? She just tied it around her waist, leaving the same amount of skin exposed, so that seemed weird to me. All that being said, for a movie that had Karen Gillan wearing basically nothing for two hours, the camera never once inappropriately lingered on her.

My boy, Nick Jonas, was also in this. Nick and I are buddies because 1. I met him and the rest of the Jonas Brothers and I looked like the missing JoBro, and 2. He was my go-to celebrity crush when I wasn’t out of the closet yet. So there’s a soft spot in my heart for him. Plus, Burnin’ Up is still such a total JAM.

Keep doin’ you, buddy.

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As always, follow me on Letterboxd to get film jokes and the most up-to-date diary of my movie watching.

It’s Been a Year

So, I’ve been absolute trash at keeping up with my resolution of writing on this blog. My other resolution of watching a movie a day is going spectacularly and maybe I’ll write about the movies I’ve watched. Weekly? Monthly? We’ll see. I don’t know why I continue to create these expectations when I know full well that I probably won’t be living up to them, but I guess I just want to keep you on your toes in case I actually live up to my promise.

Remember when I used to update daily? Who even was I back then? Where did I find the time?

Speaking of movies, though, Oscar noms came out yesterday and I’ve got some OPINIONS on them. First of all, I am so happy that Greta Gerwig got nominated for Best Director and I think in my absolute excitement, I blacked out and bought a t-shirt that just says, “GRETA GERWIG.” So, real excited for that to come in the mail and to be the only shirt I wear for the duration of TIFF.

Second of all, it is a goddamn travesty that Dee Rees and the majority of Mudbound didn’t get the love they deserve.

Actually, I should probably just do an entire separate blog post about the Oscars because I’ve got a million more thoughts because it’s taking away from the real star of today’s blog; Me.

So, I wrote a book and it’s called Burn Before Reading and it’s officially been out for a year today. That’s right, my baby’s turned one. And just yesterday, I turned in the second draft of the second book. What a weird world.

I have probably mentioned this a million times before, but this is my blog and my day, so I’m going to talk about it again.

A lot of media for LGBT people centers on the coming out experience and it’s almost always sad. I mean, off the top of my head, I can really only think of sad LGBT movies. Carol, Brokeback Mountain, Milk, Philadelphia. The only happy LGBT movie that comes to mind is But I’m a Cheerleader and even that is centered on coming out.

Nothing against coming out narratives. They’re important. Especially when navigating the coming out experience for yourself. But there comes this point after you’ve gotten to a place of acceptance where you want to see yourself in a life outside of your sexuality going through the normal life troubles. You want to see yourself in every possible narrative. The same way a straight white dude gets to see himself as a doctor, firefighter, hero, villain, construction worker. Anything. Everything.

All I’ve ever wanted when it came to pop culture was a fun ’90s-style high school comedy centered on a lesbian that’s not a coming out story, but a coming of age story. That’s it. I didn’t think that’d be a lot to ask and YET.

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

So I did. And it’s available on Amazon. It’s about being seventeen and having no idea which way’s up or down. Y’know, the normal feelings that come with being seventeen. It’s sweet and I think it’s funny, but at the end of the day, it’s about the thing in life that really matters; 80s power ballads.

Just kidding! It’s about love and friendship and all that jazz. The good stuff. The best stuff the world has to offer. Check it out if you’d like. I think you’ll like it.

Also, it’s Fiona the Hippo’s birthday today, so it really is a blessed day.

Shower Me With Praise Because I’m Moderately Successful at Keeping Up One New Year’s Resolution

So, I’ve been terrible about keeping one of my New Year’s Resolutions. The one about posting here more often. Clearly, that hasn’t been at the forefront of my life. However, I have been CRUSHING my New Year’s Resolution of watching one movie a day. Some of them have been total disasters, but some of them have been fine. A few have been outstanding. Curious as to what nonsense I’ve been watching?

Here we go:

01/01 – I, Tonya

01/02 – National Treasure

01/03 – The Beguiled

01/04 – Black Mirror: San Junipero

01/05 – Lovesong

01/06 – It Comes at Night

01/07 – The Babysitter

01/08 – Columbus

01/09 – In the Fade

01/10 – Lady Bird

01/11 – Excess Baggage

01/12 – Proud Mary

01/13 – Insidious: The Last Key

01/14 – Black Mirror: Hang the DJ

01/15 – Cinderella (1997)

01/16 – John Tucker Must Die

01/17 – Fifty Shades of Grey

01/18 – Fifty Shades Darker

01/19 – Get Out

01/20 – Beware the Slenderman

01/21 – Step Sisters

01/22 – Molly’s Game

01/23 – Phantom Thread

01/24 – The Post

01/25 – Deidra & Laney Rob a Train

01/26 – Her Story

01/27 – The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom

01/28 – Paddington

01/29 – The Humbling

01/30 – Paddington 2

01/31 – 20th Century Women

Y’know, as I’ve been watching these movies, they didn’t seem so odd day by day, but  looking at them all together is wild. It’s such a weird collection of movies.

I also truly cannot believe that I am now part of the population of people who have seen both Fifty Shades movies. I’m sorry, Mom and Dad. Although, many months ago, on this very blog, I asked if anyone knew where the cover of Springsteen’s I’m on Fire played into the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie and I now have my answer, so I guess that’s good? Also, I truly can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to watch them in the theatre and sober. I was very drunk.

I thought it’d be interesting to kind of see the breakdown of the movies that I’ve watched in terms of female directors. I didn’t set out to watch movies with female directors, but I think after this month, I’m going to make a conscious effort to find more films done by women.

Of the thirty-one films I’ve watched, only nine were directed by women. Those nine are: The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom, Her Story, Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, Beware the Slenderman, Fifty Shades of Grey, John Tucker Must Die, Lady Bird, Lovesong, and The Beguiled.

That’s an underwhelming 29%.

If we look at female writers, we’ve got ten. That’s only 33%. (I calculated it out of thirty because one of the movies was a documentary, so that doesn’t have a writing credit.)

However, if we look at how many of the movies have female main characters, that’s much higher. Twenty-three out of the thirty-one films had well-written female main characters. A whopping 74%. The ones I didn’t feel had strong female leads were Paddington, Paddington 2, The Humbling, The Post, Get Out, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and It Comes at Night.

I don’t define a strong female lead as a character who is physically strong, but as the person who the majority of action revolves around and who is nuanced just like real women are. Some of these movies, like Get Out and both Paddingtons, didn’t necessarily have bad female representation, it’s just that the women weren’t the main characters. They were still multi-dimensional and well-written, but Paddington was very much about Paddington and Get Out was very much about Chris. The women simply weren’t the leads.

As far as actual bad representation, I’d say The Humbling for sure and The Post and It Comes at Night maybe. My issues with The Humbling are too numerous to include in one simple blog post. However, Greta Gerwig’s Pegeen is reduced to the odd role of Al Pacino’s love interest. Can we stop with this trend of old dudes dating young women, please??? Riley Keough is yet again relegated to a minimal love interest role with minimal importance in It Comes at Night. Somebody put her in a good movie, for the love of god.

Somehow, I ended up rooting for Christian Grey in the second Fifty Shades movie, so I don’t even know what’s going on anymore. I wasn’t alone. The friend I watched it with was also pro-Christian Grey. We’re both still very confused about this revelation.

When it comes to The Post, you’re probably wondering how a Meryl Streep role ended up here. However, my issues lie more with the writing than Streep’s performance.

If we’re being honest here, Tom Hanks was the main character of the movie. That’s just the facts and it’s a shame because The Post could’ve been a really great Kay Graham biopic that showed her growth through the company rather than focusing on a very small part.

My issue is that by the time Kay has to make the decision about publishing the Pentagon Papers, she’s been in charge for many years. If you read the actual history of her decision to publish the papers, she wasn’t nervous at all. I highly doubt she was the blubbering, nervous wreck the movie made her out to be. And what a shame that was. Instead of writing her as the strong woman she was, she got minimized into this meek woman.

Plus, isn’t this story really the story of The New York Times? I mean, they were the ones to publish the Pentagon Papers first and it was really Daniel Ellsberg who was facing the most serious penalties. I feel like the reason Spielberg took the angle from Kay’s side is so that he could kind of jump on the bandwagon of having strong female leads. Well, I just didn’t buy it. There was a thoughtful movie in there about a woman in charge of a newspaper faced with not only a difficult choice, but the reality of being a woman in charge of a company in the sixties and seventies.

I just wish he would’ve made that movie.

Alright, I should probably wrap this up because ya girl has tickets to see Aladdin at the Pantages tonight and I gotta catch up on Black Lightning before I go. Maybe I’ll get better at updating my blog, but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll take notes during each movie I watch. Maybe that sounds like a lot of effort, but who’s to say where the future will lead us. Okay I’ll leave you with these last thoughts:

Top Three Best Movies I Hadn’t Seen Before: Columbus, In the Fade, and I, Tonya

Top Three Movies I’ve Already Seen: Lady Bird20th Century Women, and San Junipero

Favorite Line from a Movie: “Some people just aren’t built happy.” – Lady Bird

Bottom Two Worst Movies: The Humbling and Insidious: The Last Key

Movie That Surprised Me in a Good Way: Phantom Thread

Movie That Let Me Down: The Post

If you want to keep up with this dumb New Year’s Resolution in real time and read my snarky one-liner reviews, hit me up on Letterboxd.