January 2024 media diet

This year I’ve decided to write short reviews of the media I watch. I was inspired by blogger Jason Kottke, whom I highly recommend following. In the same style, I offer my monthly viewing.

The Bear (Seasons 1 and 2) [A+]

This show had been on my list for a while. I was intrigued by the premise. Several friends have said it was an accurate reflection of the kitchen environment. It also has won a ton of awards recently.  The show delivers. It is anxiety in visual form—an ulcerative journey of speed and chaos, hurt feelings, deep caring, and emotional trauma. These moments are balanced by meditative shots of food preparation and the flow state that comes with excellence. In the second season, it shifts away from the restaurant and more on the interiority of its characters. It was nice to get to know them on such a deep level. The Seven Fishes episode is superb. And then they twist the nice with her appearance in the final episode… ugh!!! This show!!!

They Cloned Tyrone [A+]

I had read this was a sleeper thriller akin to Everything Everywhere (one of my favorite movies ever!). It’s an homage of blaxploitation movies from the 70s, with all the playfulness and drama. This movie has exceptional writing, hilarious performances, and badass action sequences. Entertaining and intriguing from beginning to end.

Canadas Drag Race – Season 4 [A-]

While I have some critiques of the Canadian version of the series—its treatment of Black stars, not participating in the Canadian version of the Hollywood union, and not centering Brooke Lynn as the host—this is the best version of drag race. They have perfected the format in many ways, with subtle changes that are more gender-affirming and less predatory. The cast this year was solid, the challenges were excellent. It was awesome to see a trans man compete again. Overall, a great season, even if my fave didn’t win.

Saltburn [B+]

Bisexual chaos. That’s the best way I can describe this movie without giving anything away. Don’t read about it. Go in dry. Even though I had seen some references to a few scenes in the movie, I was not prepared for how long my jaw would be dropped. This is trash, but oh my fucking god is it delicious trash. I will take longing views of Jacob Elordi framed by beautiful British manor house gardens and Rosamund Pike serving cunt for hours on end. The best take I read was by Candice Wuehle, who says that the key to understanding this movie is that the entire 99% is entranced by the 1% at the top and our desire to attain such status. A cautionary tale!

Sicario [B+]

This movie offers a different kind of tension, slowly building up scenes, giving clear expectations about what’s around the corner, and then lulling you into a sense of safety. The use of music and cinematography is great. Benecio del Toro is awesome. I joked about a sequel because it seemed to serious to have one, but it apparently does!

Hobbs and Shaw [C-]

I was only half paying attention, but this was campy, stupid, high octane fun. Deeply, deeply stupid.

Con Air [B+]

I miss movies like this from the 90s with a simple premise, uncomplicated characters, and John Malkovich. Daddy. Nic Cage is alright, but that hair is TERRIBLE. It is totally distracting. There are definitely a couple moments where the plot seems a little flawed, but honestly, I just love this era of movies right now. B+

The Brothers Sun [A+]

Michelle Yeoh is one of my favorite actors, and there have been a few projects where I expected her to have a more prominent role and was let down (looking at you Gunpowder Milkshake). I was worried this would be the same. Luckily, I was wrong. Michelle Yeoh is fantastic in this show, along with the entire cast. They’re all lovable (or hate-able!) and deliver great performances. The writing is solid, the martial arts are incredible, the cinematography is great, and the use of music rocks.

Hacks [A+]

Rewatched this with Eli. I love this show. First, it’s nice to see a show center an inter-generational friendship, especially with an older woman. Jean Smart as Deborah Vance is fabulous and glamorous and complicated, and the rest of the cast shines in their roles. The writing is great and the characters are fun and unique.

Call me by your name [B-]

Finally got around to watching it because it was leaving Netflix. Timothee is cute, like I get the appeal, but he and Armie have like no chemistry at all. The movie was just okay to me until the scene with the dad at the end. There’s something so touching about that moment that it makes the whole thing worth it. It’s probably just coincidence because of Saltburn, but it makes me wonder if jack-and-jill/shared bathrooms are innately sexy? Is my pervert showing?

Casual/background viewing

  • Project runway S17
  • Will and Grace
  • 30 Rock
  • Downton Abbey
  • Drag Race All Stars 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Veep
  • Bobs Burgers
  • Lower Decks
  • The Other two
  • Grand Designs