I felt as thought I’d seen this film at some point but I never had. It’s probably just because of how much attention this film was given. If I remember correctly, this was a major deal. The David Hasselhoff cameo also ended up being a major deal and apparently got him a new generation of fans. However, even the prospect of briefly seeing the ex-Baywatch star wasn’t enough to get me to watch this film. Until I’d decided to watch the most recent SpongeBob film. It only felt right to watch the show’s first movie outing before I gave the latest one a try. As I mentioned on Tuesday, I’m not a big fan of the show, so it wasn’t as if I was massively looking forward to it. Still, I’m not in the mood for much complexity right now. This felt perfect for my mood. At the very least, it wasn’t going to be too long.
After finishing Mr Wilder & Me, I was hoping to start reading Jonathan Coe’s Brexit novel Middle England. However, I knew that if I did that, I would never finish it in time for today’s review. Instead, I went to my Audible library to find a quick read that I’d been putting off. I guess the melding of fact and fiction in Mr Wilder & Me made a bit of an impact on me because I went with this Julian Barnes book. I don’t know as much as I should about classical music and I don’t know as much as I’d like about Russian history. I did know enough about the Stalin’s Russia to have been excited about this one. Could I have done with knowing more about Shostakovich before I went in? Possibly but, then again, wouldn’t I find out everything I needed to know?
I can’t say that I was ever a fan of SpongeBob SquarePants when I was younger. It just passed me by and I wasn’t really aware of its existence until I was too old to care. I briefly lived with a guy at uni who had been given the nickname Sponge and had the animated character tattooed onto his person. Still, I didn’t feel like checking it out. I didn’t watch a whole episode until I first subscribed the Netflix and started watching it ironically as an adult. I appreciated the series but I can’t say that I saw what all of the fuss was about. So, I’m not exactly the kind of person who would be rushing out to watch the latest movie but these are Covid times. Nothing really makes much sense right now so I decided to watch it. At the very least, I figured that it would work with my current reduced attention span.
I have to admit, I haven’t watched a ton of Billy Wilder films. I’ve watched a lot of the big ones but not enough. I have loved Some Like It Hot since I was a teenager. My sister had a copy of it on VHS and I used to steal it from her room all the time. Without asking obviously and I wouldn’t give it back if I could help it. I sort of hoped that the longer it was in my possession for the easier it would be for me to just claim it as my own. Of course, at that point, I didn’t know anything about the Austrian born director or his Moldovan co-writer Iz Diamond. I just knew that it was a funny film. I’ve since learnt a thing or two about the pair, so I was very excited when Jonathan Coe’s new book was announced. Not only was it an insight into the real-life figures but it was a blending of fact and fiction. I love books that mess with real-life events. I bought it a week or so ago and I started it as soon as I possibly could. I knew that I was going to like it but would it become my new favourite Coe novel?
What have you been reading this week?
As you may have noticed, the blog has had a bit of a makeover in the last couple of days. I just suddenly decided I needed an upgrade. Something smarter and more minimalistic. Everything seems very big at the moment, so I need to figure something out with that. However, I’m pretty happy with it now. I don’t like mixing things up too often but I really haven’t been happy with things at the moment. I can probably blame lockdown for making me a bit antsy. As we all know, nothing feels great right now. We’re just over a month away from Christmas but I’ve never felt less festive. I think we should all just be happy that we’re getting through each day in one piece.
I did something a little different on Tuesday and reviewed (if you can call it that) the most recent season of The Crown instead of a film. As you know, I like to try and tie my Tuesday review and TBT review together, so I had a couple of choices for what to watch today. It was between this or The Iron Lady. I’ve not actually seen the whole of The Iron Lady because I got bored quite quickly. Also, I remained unconvinced that Phyllida Lloyd should be allowed to direct films. I guess that meant that I should probably have watched Meryl Streep take on the role that Gillian Anderson made unnecessarily sexy in The Crown. However, I really couldn’t face it. So, I went back to this 2006 film that I have seen before. It’s not a personal favourite but I, at least, knew that I could deal with it.
As is so often the case for my second book review of the week, I’m reviewing a short book because I needed to finish something quickly. It’s not necessarily a bad strategy as there are some really good short books out there but it still feels like a bad reason for picking something up. Although, I don’t think I’d ever regret picking up a Neil Gaiman. Well, I didn’t like The Ocean at the End of the Lane when I read it but I suspect I missed something there. After all, the majority of people rave about that book. I keep meaning to give it a reread but I’m still wary. But that’s beside point. This time, I went back to a classic Neil Gaiman story. One that feels so Gaiman. There’s Norse mythology, an odd (literally) protagonist, and Chris Riddell illustrations. I decided to listen to the audiobook at the same time because I needed the comfort of his narration.
I’ve experienced quite a few reading slumps over the years but never a film slump. It’s probably just another consequence of 2020 but I just can’t be bothered with films right now. Last week, I left it to the last minute to watch both Over the Moon and Coco. This week, I didn’t watch anything. I spent most of Sunday finishing off Pizza Girl and then started binge watching season 4 of The Crown. It’s not that I didn’t have the time. After all, I got through 7 full episodes that night. It’s just that I’m not in the mood. The Crown is the perfect kind of viewing for a time like this. I’m not overly invested in the show but was still interested enough to keep going. My only issue is that I can’t actually decide if I like it or not.
This was one of the most hotly anticipated debuts of 2020 and I was definitely intrigued by it. It took me a while to get a copy though because I was still under the illusion that I could keep my promise to be more restrained about buying books. Once I had the copy in my possession, it still took me a while to get round to it, which is the reason I’m trying to be restrained about my book buying. I buy books thinking that I need to read them immediately but find my desire wanes when the time comes. Still, after my month of cosy crime, I was looking for something a little different and this seemed like a great thing to get my teeth into. I love a character study with little or no plot. From the sound of it, Pizza Girl would be right up my street.
What have you been reading this week?
So, second lockdown is proving to be just as much fun as the last one. I feel like I’m having mini breakdowns every other day despite the fact that my workload has dramatically decreased in the last week. I don’t know what’s going to happen workwise. At least they haven’t furloughed me. Still, I would be able to get more reading done. Thanks to some super short reads, I’ve managed to get quite a how count this week. Most of them are too short to review fully, so it means I’m still behind on my reviews for next week. How does this always happen?