I’ve already told you how much I love Claire Danes, but seriously, you should be watching Homeland. I realize it’s nearly impossible to obtain without premium cable, but there are ways, media-savvy readers, THERE ARE WAYS. It’s the best thing on television right now.
Speaking of which, did you know that My So-Called Life is streaming in its entirety on Netflix? I’m teaching Girls Media Studies and am going to screen the entire thing — it’s still just as good as it was when you watched it every night at 7 pm on MTV. (Or, if you were like me, it’s just as good as when you watched it every Thursday on ABC and then every night, over and over again, on MTV for the next four years). And if you’ve never seen it…it’s never too late to jump on the best-teen-show-until-FNL bandwagon.
No show — not even Parks and Rec, which I love with abandon — has made me laugh as deeply as Louie. You might not want to watch it with your Grandma or 5-year-old, but it has the verve and honesty that 99% of comedic television lacks. (Season 1, also streaming on Netflix).
Prestige-film season is in full-swing, but I still think Beginners is the best film I’ve seen this year. Innovatively-plotted, perfectly-acted, beautiful and poignant and elegant and sad. I absolutely loved it, and think you will too. Even the trailer is charming.
(But have no fear — the movie never veers into the overly cutesy or overly sentimental).
I’ve spent two long nights watching Carlos, a mini-series/really long film (three two-hour chunks) about a terrorist/freedom-fighter/Marxist/really complicated real-life guy, commonly known as “Carlos the Jackel.” The plot is convoluted and the politics are complex, but it is gripping as filmmaking gets. Directed by Olivier Assayas, the man behind the gorgeous Summer Hours, with a stunning star turn by Edgar Ramirez. Also streaming on Netflix (do you see a pattern here?).
First of all, I highly recommend investigating Spotify. I’m still dubious about the way it compensates the millions of artists whose music is available, but for things like, say, yoga playlists, it is aces. I pay $4.99 and have access to pretty much everything released by a mainstream or even quasi-mainstream artist. It’s like Pandora with a whole lot more control.
As for specific albums — I’m listening to so much of the following:
The Head and the Heart, The Head and the Heart, specifically “Down in the Valley.” Just listening to these guys makes me miss the Northwest like whoa.
The National, Boxer, specifically “Green Gloves” (I go through periods of listening to The National when I become physically addicted to an album — as in cannot not be listening to it while I’m awake. I’m just emerging from one of those periods).
Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues, specifically “Battery Kinzie”
Feist, Metals, specifically “Anti-Pioneer.” GORGEOUS.
Rihanna, Talk that Talk, specifically “Drunk on Love.” The xx + RiRi = Annie’s new favorite song.
The Bieber, specifically “Mistletoe.” The video! I DIE! No shame!
I’ve been spending a lot of time reading things with my students, but I’ve also had a chance to do some pleasure reading on the side, including Jeffrey Eugenides’ much-ballyhooed The Marriage Plot. I liked it quite a bit, but wonder if those who are not familiar with the woes and confusions of first encountering post-structuralism will feel the same. (Tell me? Do those sections make sense?)
Jill Lepore’s essay “Birthright,” on the war against Planned Parenthood, is an absolute must-read, no matter your political affiliation. It’s historical, contextual, and packs a huge punch. It’s behind the New Yorker paywall, but it is so worth the article charge. Or find your favorite New Yorker reader and bum a copy off of them. (Or if you live in close proximity to me, bum my copy).
I generally abhor Caitlin Flanagan. But her Atlantic essay on why girls – and women — read Twilight is, bar none, the best explanation for why the particulars of the narrative (not just the vampire narrative, but this vampire narrative) draws us in. Not behind the pay-wall, and especially appropriate given the release of Breaking Dawn. (If you’re interested in my own article on feminist readers of Twilight, it’s coming out this summer, but I’d be happy to send you a digital copy. Just let me know). The recent Hairpin article on “Our Bella, Our Selves” is also quite good.
So there we go — share your own endorsements in the comments? Or try and fight me on the merits of The Biebs? Let’s go.