Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Links!!! Links!!! June Links!!!

    So what a terrible few months. I am not going to get into why, but safe to say it was really, really bad. I am just beginning to get into the light, and trying to make lists of things to do (and really this is about getting dressed, eating, and trying to make other plans).

   This blog, however is important to me. I want to keep writing here, it makes me really happy. I am also going to something with the Bookclub as I have completely dropped out for a couple of months. I think I am going to do two books for a month.

   So onto some links to some stuff that I am happy to share. In no particular order...

   The Great British Sewing Bee, series four. I am really enjoying this series so far. It has gotten increasingly harder and some of the challenges are super crazy! Though the ski suit thing they had to refashion to make me giggle this week, if only for the outfit that Claudia Winkleman wore.

   It's something that I really love and if you live in the UK you can find it on BBC IPlayer. That picture just makes me smile.

   I found this podcast only just yesterday and I gobbled up more than ten in just two days. They talk about a pop culture and in a way I really love (plus it is run by librarians, be still my heart). It's something that I really recommend. You can find it here:
   Talking of that podcast. There is where I found this really interesting article about queer women on TV. You can find it here:

   I also only found this website last night at around half 11. Still I want to dive in and read all of these books. I am so excited that there is a website about people of colour in romances. You can find it here:

    Talking of romance with people of colour, I read A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev at the beginning of the year. It's so good. I happened get it on audio via my library and the narration was great. Read this book, it's really good, plus that cover is amazing.

   I have a history of getting into things well past the pop culture being interested in it. I was looking at songs on Glee. What interested me about the two songs that I am going to post about are the arrangements. The arrangement of Smooth Criminal isn't fancy but those cellos I could listen to all day. Plus the voices are great. You can find it here:

   This other song, it's amazing. This is the combination of Rumour has it and Someone like You. It's fantastic, those voices blew me away. You can find it here:

   I also over the last month discovered the Phoenix Pack series by Suzanne Wright. I am not a huge paranormal reader but this series really hooked me. This has a lot of violence and there a quite a lot of sex scenes. I think my favourite of the series so far is Dark Instincts. I just love Roni a lot. She's my kind of heroine. I also like the cover. Again this is a book that is violent and sexy, so that might not be your thing, but it was definitely mine.  

    I, while surfing the internet came across this twitter account. If you are not following this, do it yesterday, @angryasianman.

   It was through this that I found this article, that you can find here:

   I was reminded through that article how much I loved that dance sequence in Step Up 3. Which you can find here:

   And I will link last to this that I found via @twobossydames on twitter. This made me like Gina Rodriguez so much (Jane the Virgin is a really good show as well). She gave her golden globe dress to a fan to wear to her Prom. You see the whole story here:

   I am going to end this by recommending this song and this specific arrangement by The Wailin' Jennys. The Parting Glass is such a good song. There is something about listening to something that is just pure voice. I could not stop listening to it when I first found it. You can find it here:

Monday, 13 June 2016

My Best Picture Rabbit Hole

   I have not posted anything for a while so I thought I would do something fun. So just for fun I wanted to talk about the movies.

   I have many a time talked about the Oscars and how annoying they are. Two articles changed my mind. One from Buzzfeed and the other from Slate. The Buzzfeed one ranks all the Best Pictures, all 87, the Slate one ranks all the movies nominated in all categories for the year 2014 (and it's every one, the shorts, the screen plays and costumes included).

    You can find the Slate article by Joe Reid here:

    I am now going down the movie rabbit hole, and here are the movies that I've seen out of all the best picture nominees. I feel bad about some that I've seen over some others, this is completely subjective, so starting with the year 1934 (worth it to note the Oscars years start in 1927), here we go.

   It Happened One Night, this happened to win best Picture in 1934 and the only one that I've seen out the 12 nominated that year. It's a really well done romantic comedy. Watching them fall in love is really great. It's a movie that holds up. Out of all of the other movies I would probably want to watch The Thin Man, but that's about it.

   Top Hat, was nominated in 1935 (not best picture). Again this is the only one I have seen in that year out of the 12 that were nominated. It's a charming movie, Fred Estaire and Ginger Rogers are fantastic together. I think it's one of their movies that people remember. The story is slight, but in my opinion the dancing makes up for it. It's not my all time favourite dance movie but still good.

   The Awful Truth, was nominated in 1937 (not best picture). As with these early years it's the one I've seen out of in this year 10. It's good, and it has Cary Grant in it, my secret boyfriend. I haven't seen it in a while but as I remember it I laughed a lot.

   The Wizard of Oz, and Ninotchka were nominated in 1939. Those were the two I've seen out of the ten nominated. Nope I have not seen Gone With the Wind which won, and I'm not going to either. I saw The Wizard of Oz a lot as a child, and when you first see it the black and white to colour amazes you. Judy Garland is amazing in it (and finding out how the studios mistreated her makes me sad for the performance, but that first time is still with me), you forget how just ravishing it looks. Ninotchka just doesn't do it for me. So for me The Wizard of Oz is the movie that gets better, but again I've only seen the two. Though the flying monkeys and the Witch scared the shit out of me as a child.

   Rebecca and The Philadelphia Story are the only ones I have seen from 1940. Wow I did not know how many older movies I have seen. So I have mixed feelings about Rebecca, it's moody but I don't know there is a lot to like about it but I think for me the book is so much better. The Philadelphia Story has Cary Grant in it, and Katherine Hepburn who I will always love. The movie though? I think I like Bringing Up Baby better. Out of those movies they are still good and worth watching.  

   Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon were nominated in 1941. These are the ones that I have seen out of the ten. It's well documented my strong dislike of Citizen Kane, so I won't get into it. The Maltese Falcon is a film noir that I really like. I love Humphrey Bogart in it. Plus there was a really interesting Ted Talk by Adam Savage surrounding it that's super cool. There is something about how the movie looks that still gets to me.

   Random Harvest and The Talk of the Town were nominated in 1942. Random Harvest made me cry so hard. I don't think I've ever cried that hard over a movie. It's a tear jerker done the right way. The Talk of the Town is a strange movie but I think worth it for Jean Arthur. It also has Cary Grant in it as memory serves. Be sill my heart. Both worth watching. 

   Casblanca (which won) and The More the Merrier, both in 1943. Casblanca still looks good and has the wonderful Ingrid Bergman in it. I don't think she get's enough credit for the heart breaking acting she does in this. The dialogue in the movie is pitch perfect. The More the Merrier is also a strange film, but I am a Jean Arthur fan girl forever, just watch it for her.  

   Gaslight in 1944, so we are getting to tighter nominations (this is still the only I've seen). There are only five here. Gaslight is an interesting movie and there is a weird relationship to female hysteria in here. I like it, but it's a hard watch. It also made Gaslighting something we can talk about and it stemmed from this movie (also Angela Lansbury is in it and got nominated for best supporting if memory serves).

   It's A Wonderful Life, 1946. It's the only one I've seen. The Best Years of Our Lives Won, and it's the first best picture that I would be interested to see. It's A Wonderful Life is much darker, creepier and more depressing than you remember. This is about a man who wants to commit suicide, and then is shown that his life mattered, because he put everyone else first. The ending? Yes feel good, but I wanted George for once to make his life about him.

   Born Yesterday, Sunset Blvd, 1950. All About Eve won and I have not seen it. I really want to because Bette Davis is great in everything. Born Yesterday is charming but it drags for me, but it does have Judy Holiday in it who was in Singin' in the Rain one of my favourite musicals. Sunset Blvd, is a depressing sit for me. It does have a great female villain, but it's hard to watch. It's a movie that shows the dark side, but the main character bugs me too much to want to watch it again.  

   Roman Holiday, 1953. Audrey Hepburn is delightful. It feels like a forgotten movie in some ways. I will say as much as like Hepburn the pacing isn't that great, but she really looks like a movie star.

   Seven brides for Seven Brothers, 1954. Watching the whole movie, it freaking long. It also has some very, very offensive sexual politics going on. The music works, but really it's not something that has aged at all well. I still occasionally watch music from it, but it's few and far between.

   12 Angry Men, 1957. It's a strange decade the 50s, with all this male angst. I, however love a movie that is about relationships and how those change with time. It's a movie set in a really short amount of time but it holds such power. Well worth watching again. Plus Amy Schumer did a great sketch about it as well.

   Auntie Mame, 1958. If you watch this again it's a pretty odd movie. The structure is all over the place. It's charming in it's own way. Frankly way better than many a movie about women. Gigi won that year. Not a movie that I would want to see.

   West Side Story, 1961 and won. So I remember the year my school did this musical which my sister was in. She was great as I recall. The songs are awesome and chorography of the dance is really good. It's worth it for the music and dance.

   The Sound of Music, 1965, it won that year as well. I love the music and Julie Andrews does a great job in it. I think I tend to forget how long it is, but it holds up. For the Goat song alone I will still love this movie.

   The Graduate, 1967. I think it may be perfect. Though the 60s were not a great decade for me watching any film made in that era. Also this has an interesting dynamic with women and it still works. Still I have not seen In the Heat of the Night which won, and I should. Still what a weird line up (Doctor Doolittle was nominated that year (whatever).

   Oliver!, 1968. Another musical that I first saw in a school reproduction. I have a bad relationship to this. It had a lot of weird class shit in it, sexual weirdness and Fagin as a character is problematic to say the least. The songs are great, but I have a real dislike to child motivated musicals (I have the same relationship to Annie).

   M*A*S*H, 1970. Still holds up, and I hadn't realised it was directed by Altman, and he's amazing. I laughed at this, it's a great movie.

   The Sting, 1973. The only one I've seen and it won. I like the music and it's fascinating to watch. Robert Redford at his prime. It's feels a little too slight to me. I don't know, I like comedies but it's a little hard for me to commit. It's also long. Hey, a lot of movies were.

   Chinatown, 1974. Super fucking creepy. Still the first time I saw this movie it blew me away. Jack Nicholson I so very good here. Good movie that I never want to watch again, that ending still gives me the shivers.

   All the President's Men, 1976. It's a great movie. It also has Dustin Hoffman looking gorgeous. Out of most of the movies listed it's probably the one I return to most. It's great. And no I've never seen Taxi Driver or Rocky. Send your letters....

   Annie Hall, 1977, and it won. Yeah, OK Woody Allen is a hard subject. Is it a good movie? Yes I think it is. Diane Keaton I don't think get's enough credit for being great. I have not watched in it a while. I can't with him separate the art from the artist. I know too much. It taints it for me. Oh and I have of course watched Star Wars, without the outraged gasps it's a really long film. It also get's weird what with Leia and Luke being related and all. I like the second one more, but that is hardly a new opinion.

   Coming Home and Heaven Can Wait, 1978. Coming Home is a great movie, and that sex scene is both hot and really revelatory. Heaven Can wait, is also still good. Julie Cristie is great in it. I think both are good. You can never go wrong with great female leads.

   Kramer vs Kramer, 1979, and it won. Dustin Hoffman is great, so is Meryl Streep. That final scene will always slay me. Still, it does have a weird men can be parents too theme.

   Raiders of the Lost of Ark, 1981. And so we come to the eighties. I am not a super fan of this. Still it was the only one I saw. Meh. 

   ET, The Extra Territorial, 1982. All I remember vividly about that movie is when Elliot kisses that girl like the scene from the movie The Quiet Man.

   Amadeus, 1984. I may or may not when I was about fourteen watched Amadeus on TV. All I know is I recognise the costumes. I could barely tell you what it was about. Though Mozart's Requiem is a beautiful piece of music

   Witness, 1985. I can barely tell you anything about Witness either, I remember Harrison Ford looked good in it. It's lost to me in the mists of time. 

   Children of a Lesser God, Hannah and her Sisters, A Room with a View. 1986. Children of a Lesser God is an interesting and in a lot of ways subtle film. The chemistry between the leads is palpable. I will say this for Hannah and Her Sisters, the one scene I remember is where Barbara Hersey breaks up with that dude. It's a powerful scene. Still we have talked about my feelings toward Allen, and it's hard to watch. A Room with a View I still watch. Judy Dench, Maggie Smith and Helena Bonham-Carter are all really good. Both worth watching.

   Moonstruck, 1987. My favourite romantic comedy. So fucking good. The Lost Emperor won that year. No opinion about that. Overboard came out that year, it's still good despite the premise being super bad. I could still watch Goldie Hawn being a badass any time.

   Working Girl, 1988. I kept thinking I saw Rain Man (which won), I don't think I did. It's a movie that has been aped by pop culture too much so I can't sepreate it. I like Working Girl a lot. Joan Cussak is amazing.

   Dead Poet's Society, Field of Dreams. 1989. Now that I think about it both of those films are boys and men dealing with whatever. I will say this both times I saw them they effected me. Not enough to make me watch either ever again. I also have a hate of Kevin Costner.

    The eighties did give me Dirty Dancing, Desperately Seeking Susan and Moonstruck. All of which I still watch and love.

   Dances with Wolves (won), Ghost. 1990. Jesus. This is why I'm still mad at Costner (though he was in Bull Durham but not enough to forget how terrible he is in this, and all of the truly awful politics in Dances of Wolves). Ghost, it's a film that has been parodied way too many times. Whoopi Goldberg won the Oscar for her role and she's great, not something I am eager to watch again but it's good.

   Beauty and the Beast, Bugsy, JFK, and Princes of Tides. 1991 Bugsy I barely remember. JFK, not an easy thing to remember, particularly as it's directed by Oliver Stone. And go away Kevin Costner.  Princes of Tides, is OK. I don't think time has been a good friend. Beauty and the Beast is still good. They are making a live action soon so we'll see. I do like that Belle likes books. Yep never seen Silence of the Lambs. Again it's another film that's been aped way too many times by pop culture. So never mind.

   A Few Good Men, Howard's End, Scent of a Woman. 1992. Scent of a Woman is not a complicated movie. Still there is something to that courtroom scene. Not great and it's super freaking long. Howard's End wow did E M Forster have some shit going on there for a while. It's hard for me to judge. I watched it for my A-Levels. I love Emma Thompson, but it's not something I really love. A Few Good Men. It's OK. Sorkin is a promblematic writer for me. It's not something I really like to watch.

   The Remains of the Day, The Fugitive. 1993. The Remains of the Day just makes me sad. Emma Thompson forever though. The Fugitive, still good. Still watching it now.

   Forest Gump (won), Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption. 1994. Forest Gump, whatever. Four Weddings and a Funeral, still good. It's something that I really loved so much. Pulp Fiction, when I first saw this I was blown away. The soundtrack was a revelation to me when I saw this. I still have a sticky relationship to Tarentino. I am not a fan of his. Still this movie is iconic. The Shawshank Redemption, this is where I fell in love with the character of Red. It's such a small movie in some ways. Yes it is probably a movie about dudes and their feelings. It's stood the test of time. Yeah I agree with a lot of people Pulp Fiction was the movie of that year.

   Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino, Sense and Sensibility. 1995. My favourite of all of those Sense and Sensibility. Directed by Ang Lee and written by Emma Thompson. Alan Rickman never looked so good or noble and Emma Thompson is amazing. Still never seen Braveheart (that won) and now never will.

   The English Patient (won), Jerry Maguire. 1996. Jerry Maguire is a hard thing to watch for me. I don't like a lot of what is going on here. Cameron Crowe's work is a mixed bag. It also has a lot of catch phrases. I'm not sold on the emotion between any of the people in it. I will say Regina King is great. The English Patient I saw with all my family at the very front of the cinema. So slightly sick making. Juliette Binoche is really good. I'm not sure the rest of the movie holds up. Kristen Scott Thomas was my favourite thing in Four Weddings and a Funeral, it just feels forced.

   Titanic, (won) As Good as it Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting, L. A. Confidential. 1997. The only year on here that I've seen all five.  A lot of films here have not looked good. I will say Titanic was huge and a lot of my contempories were really into this. The first time I saw it I was a sobbing mess. Now? It's hard to watch. Still it won. As Good as it Gets, terrible. I thought that at the time I was watching it. Good Will Hunting interestingly enough I saw first in German understanding very little. It effected me the first time I saw it in English, not now. The Full Monty seems like an outlier. It's still good. I still like it. L. A. Confidential, also still good. The only time I liked Russell Crowe. As a group of movies it's not awful.

   Life is Beautiful, Shakespeare in Love, Saving Private Ryan, Elizabeth. 1998. I'm not mad about this. Shakespeare in Love still holds up. Saving Private Ryan is bigger in scope but I like it less. The other two I cannot remember very well.

    American Beauty, The Sixth Sense. 1999. It's a movie that really was well thought of at the time, in fact both were. I think American Beauty is flawed but it's got good things about it. Thora Birch is underrated in my opinion. The Sixth Sense it's still good. Bruce Willis is great. If we are picking movies were the most talked about and regarded of that year, American Beauty is it for good or ill.

   Gladiator, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Chocolat. 2000. Looking back at this I'm still mad about it. Gladiator is not something I think I ever liked. Also it has the annoying trope that he's doing this as his wife and family were fridged. It's also fucking long. Erin Brockovich I like and I know people are mad that she won for but it's still a good thriller. Chocolat I like well enough and it's something I still watch. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I fell in love with. I am so happy that it at least got nominated and it's still ravishing and amazing. So, so good.  

   Gosford Park, A Beautiful Mind, Moulin Rouge, Lord of the Rings: The fellowship of the Ring. 2001. Moulin Rouge I don't really care about, it's not a story I care about either. A Beautiful Mind wow did people backlash on this. It's a long film and it's hard to let go of a lot of the stuff in there. Russell Crowe rubs me the wrong way so this is not for me. Lord of the Rings remember the magic? I do. I still like it as well. Gosford Park though is my all time favourite out of the bunch. I love Kelly McDonald in this. Clive Owen (my other secret boyfriend) is really good. It's shot so well. I still love it. I always will.

   Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002. Yep out of the five I've only seen one. Chicago won that year. I am meh. This instalment of the Rings is in my opinion the weakest.

   Lost in Translation, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. 2003. So two very, very different movies. Lost in Translation feels stranger n a good way  and more about people who disconnect and connect. It's a good movie. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is also still good and worth watching, though do you really have to go on and on and on?

   Good Night and Good Luck, Brokeback Mountain. 2005. Ah the year that Crash won. I liked the ones I saw fine. I have not seen Crash and am definitely not going to. I am not all that invested to be fair.

   Little Miss Sunshine. 2006. The only movie I've seen on this dock. It's still good. Toni Colette is really good.

   Juno. 2007. The only movie I've seen on this list. Still something great in there. Also Allison Janney is great, in pretty much everything, but great in this movie too.  

   Frost/Nixon. 2008. What a bizarre movie year. The Reader was nominated. I am a long time fan of Dev Patel. If you ever catch up on the UK skins you can see how good he was at the start of his career. I am interested in watching Slumdog Millionaire for him. Frost/Nixon it's not something I re-watch. It does have my third secret boyfriend Matthew McFadden in it.

   The Blind Side, Up, Up in the Air, An Education. 2009. The Blind Side another movie that an actress won her best for that people I don't think are going to look back on well. Up is still good. An Education is slight but the acting is great, all actors that I really like as well. Up in the Air, I don't really care all that much about.

   The King's Speech, Toy Story 3. 2010, The King's Speech won. Yeah the backlash was substantial. It's not one I re-watch. It does it's job well. Toy Story 3 is good. It's interesting though what the other picks were, just to say that they were very different movies doing different things.  

   The Help. 2011. Shit, it's pretty bad that this is the only movie I have seen. I'd like to see Hugo. The Help is a strange movie adapted from a book. It's hard to be fair about this movie. I will say this I very much doubt history is going to look back on this fondly. Get Viola Davis in better movies.

   Argo. 2012. The only one I saw and it won. It's fine. I am probably never going to see it again. An interesting year for movies though. Lincoln though?  

   The Grand Budapest Hotel. 2014. Sorry 2014. I like the one film I saw fine.

   As a spread of movies it's all pretty varied. I have some movies that I will definitely try and catch up on, and ones I am super glad I never saw. As terrible as some movies are that won, the picking is the thing. Still I am very glad that #OscarsSoWhite got the attention that it deserved this year. Talking about it is the first step, but there needs to be opportunities given to people who are not white in every sector of movies. The writing, acting, producing and making. Otherwise it's yet another year where you give the jobs to people who make the same thing, and not only that but badly.

   I will end this piece by saying it's a broad sector of film that covers decades over the Oscars. I recently saw this list via NPR. It's fifty in total of a canon of black film. It's an interesting list. I really want to see a lot of the stuff on here. You can find it here:

   I will also add the movie from 2015 that I really want to see is Girlhood. I've heard really great things, and it's movie that is different from everything else on my rabbit hole.