Anyone who’s been keeping up with my Sunday Rundowns of late will know that I’ve been making painfully slow progress with Shakespeare: The World as a Stage by Bill Bryson. So, when I was approached by Linh Le James to read her novel #Toots for a review, I decided it would be a good excuse for a break from my current read. And, thankfully, it was a quick read that proved to me it’s not that I’m in a slump that Byrson is taking so long. It’s just the book itself. So, I’m now wondering, still being only about halfway through at 2.5 weeks, whether it’s worth carrying on with it. I don’t want to give up considering how much time I’ve put into it but it feels like this uphill struggle is never going to end. I mean, there’s only so much pleasure you can take reading the history of a man who we know next to nothing about. It’s pretty much all speculation. I’ll be honest, I could have been asked to review any book right now and I’d probably had agreed just to give me the excuse to put Bryson down again. Maybe that explains why I got through #Toots in only 3 days? Or maybe it was just the best book I’ve ever read?
Boy, were there a few surprises during this weekend’s Oscars. I was tempted to write a post about it but decided it would just be another rant about how undeserving Green Book is of the Best Picture title. I mean, seriously? I know Roma is a Netflix film but how can anyone say it wasn’t the best film of this year? It’s fucking madness. Another (sort of) surprising turn of event were the winners of Best Actor and Best Actress category. I loved both Rami Malek and Olivia Colman’s performances and I know they both won at the BAFTAs but I just didn’t trust the voters to let them win. And, after finally seeing The Wife recently, I thought Glenn Close was kind of shoe-in. I mean, without wishing to spoilt the upcoming review, she was fucking breathtaking in that film. And this makes it her 7th time of being passed over. It’s insane and, if I didn’t love Colman quite so much, I’d be outraged. Just be sure that if Gaga had won I’d have genuinely flipped. I’d have demanded the Oscar be taken away and given to Close instead.
So, after a brief stop last week, normal service is resumed and I have a book to review. This is one that has sat on my shelf for a while. I bought it a year or two ago when I decided to try out more short story collections. I figured it might make me a better or, at least, quicker reader. As expected, it did neither of those things and I just shoved it away with my other unread books. But I’m trying really hard to get through my unread books this year so I randomly plucked this off the shelf a few weeks ago. I can’t remember what prompted it but it was probably because I, naively, believed it would be a quick read. And February hasn’t exactly been a stellar reading month for me. I’ve still got two books on the go and this marks my second finished read. I’ve been doing so well so far that this is a genuine crushing blow. Still, let’s not start this review on a downer. Especially as I started this book with high hopes. A short story collection connected by a common theme and character? It sounded wonderful.
Fucking Bradley Cooper, man. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a massive fan but, once again, I seem to be in the minority. We’re in a situation in which the guy has been nominated for an acting Oscar 4 times. 4 times! One Best Supporting and three Best Actor. I just don’t get it. His best role to date, in my mind, is his voice performance as Rocket Raccoon. His performance in Silver Linings Playbook was messy and over-the-top. His performance in American Hustle wasn’t exactly stand-out either. Basically, I’ve just never seen him do anything that really wowed me. He’s just been lucky enough to be surrounded by better actors who make manage to disguise him. So, when I heard he was starring in and directing a remake of A Star Is Born I was hardly queuing up outside the cinema to see it. But then is got all sorts of fucking praise and attention during awards seasons. I kept putting this film off for as along as possible but I finally had to accept that I needed to watch it. So I did. And I have some thoughts.
So, I’ve broken my book buying ban with only one fucking day to go in the month. Why did I do it? Because I knew that I wouldn’t finish either of the books I’ve got on the go by the time I had to write this review. So, I popped into my local bookshop to see if I could find a quick read that looked interesting. I found it in the small selection of graphic novels and, after reading the quote on the front, decided I couldn’t not read it. “A story of courage and heroism to inspire young people everywhere.” I mean who could ignore an endorsement like that? Especially when the back cover reveals that Malala Yousafzai was also a fan. The graphic novel version of Deborah Ellis’ The Breadwinner is actually the adaptation of the 2018 animated film based on the book. So, I have just read the novelisation of a film I haven’t seen that was based on a book I haven’t read. Whatever could go wrong?
Normally, I don’t like to take too much notice of critical ratings before I go and see a film. I prefer not to be affected by what other people think. But the mixed reaction to Bohemian Rhapsody did concern me before I saw it. All of my friends who’d seen it had aid it was worth watching, which went along with the majority of fan feedback. However, I couldn’t ignore the fact that so many critics were disappointed. This was one of those films that should have been guaranteed. A biopic of one of the greatest British rock bands with the talented Rami Malik playing the role of Freddie Mercury and directed by Bryan Singer. It should have been perfect but, as we know, the film making process was a huge struggle. Not only was Rami the last in a fairly long list of actors accepting to play Freddie but there were script problems and Singer was replaced by Dexter Fletcher at the last-minute. Singer was reportedly difficult to work with so was thrown off the project with about 3 weeks to go. Talk about drama behind the scenes, eh! So, with all that in mind, it felt like the critical response could have something to it. Meaning I went into this film kind of expecting the worst. But, considering it got a Best Picture nomination, I had to give it a go.
Today is January 8th, which means we’re already over a week into the new year. But, as we all know, January is the longest month of the year and those 8 days have felt like twice that. Christmas is a but a distant memory: a brighter time without work or responsibilities. So, obviously, the thing everyone wants is to read my review of a Christmas film. Yes, I should have posted this sooner but I was already behind with Into the Spider-Verse. Let’s not worry about it too much. The twelves days of Christmas may be over but who really worries about that kind of thing anyway? Bad luck? I can’t get a job I want, my health is all over the place, I’m currently single: I think I’m pretty good on bad luck right now. How much worse can it really get? So, I’m just going to do this. Regardless of how appropriate it is. After all, I only watched this for this bloody blog… and, to a lesser extent, Cumberbatch. At this point, the obsession is so strong I’d watch him in any old shit.
Now, we already know that Netflix have added some pretty questionable Christmas films this year but I actually had some hope for this one. It’s Kurt Russell for fuck’s sake. Kurt Russell playing Santa. I love Kurt Russell. I love Santa. It’s a dream combination. Then I saw the trailer and it looked like a Frankenstein’s monster made up from the tired narratives of old Christmas films. So my excitement started wavering a bit and I put it to the bottom of my pile. Then I watched The Princess Switch and decided it couldn’t be as bad as that. And, there have been loads of people at work raving about it. Once again, I swayed due to popular opinion and decided to watch it this week. Well, that and the fact that the only one I really have left t watch is the stupid magical advent calendar one and that looks even shitter than A Christmas Prince 2. And, if nothing else, Kurt Russell was sure to be perfect as Santa, right?
Last night was my Christmas party at work and, I’m sorry to say, the free wine on the tables was really flowing. Mainly in my direction. I wasn’t feeling as bad as I expected this morning but, boy, was I glad I had the day off today! I’m so tired. But, instead of spending the day in bed, I have to get myself sorted before I’m out again tonight. I’m such a Grandma these days. All I want is to snuggle up in bed watching more shit Netflix Christmas films. I still have loads that I want to watch but, I’m happy to say, that I have watched the most important one already. After last year’s A Christmas Prince got the internet going mental, I was kind of excited (maybe excited isn’t the right word) to see how the sequel would go. The first film was so bad but in such a wonderful way. And this one has a wedding. That’s always a narrative choice that is both original and full of funny ideas. Right? Guys? Am I right?
Think back to this time last year when Netflix changed the history of Christmas films by releasing one of the worst yet most compelling Christmas films in recent years. For an entire month, the internet became obsessed with A Christmas Prince and, when news came of a sequel, everyone was excited to continue the story. What nobody was ready for was the increased volume of original Christmas films to come out of the streaming service. Each trailer I saw was worse than the last and, if I’m honest, my excitement to watch them was only increasing. As we know, I love a Christmas film and a cheesy and obvious Christmas film is even better. I have decided to only review Netflix films for December and I decided to start with a doozy. A film that was essentially The Lizzie McGuire Movie meets A Christmas Prince? Starring Vanessa Hugdens sporting a terrible British accent? Who wouldn’t be desperate to see that?