When I first head about this film I thought it sounded shit. That’s mostly because a friend of mine described it to me and he didn’t do a very good job. It didn’t help that I just associated Will Smith with bad films thanks to the likes of Hitch. So, I didn’t want to watch it. Cut to a few years later and another friend telling me to watch it. This time, I trusted his opinion and gave it a shot. I didn’t hate it but I can’t pretend that it’s a film I’ve thought a lot about since. Until it appeared on my Netflix home screen the other day. Then I got the sudden urge to watch it again. As it’s been a while since my last TBT, I decided it was worth going back to it. Maybe it would make more of an impression this time?
Like many others, I first became interested in this book when it was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2018. It sounded like an interesting story and I’m always intrigued by feminist dystopian fiction. I never actually bought it though because, as is always the case, I had far too much to read first. I then got a copy in a book subscription box that I used to get. It wasn’t a great subscription all round but this was definitely a highlight. The book has spent the last year or so on my shelf waiting to be read. Why did I decide to read it now? I wanted the excuse to experiment with water in some photos. I’ve had worse reasons for picking up a book but this isn’t exactly my finest hour. I was still interested but I’d also heard mixed things about Sophie Mackintosh’s debut novel. I guess that I had to find out for myself.
I’m yet to be convinced by Disney’s plan to remake all of its animated film as live-action. At best, they can be described as fine. At worst, they’re pointless. The best by far is The Jungle Book because it was only slightly concerned with the original film. I guess Maleficent worked pretty well but I wonder how much that had to do with Angelina Jolie rather than the actual film. So, I wasn’t exactly hyped when it was announced that Cruella DeVil, first seen in 1961’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians, was getting an origin story. Or that she was going to be played by Emma Stone. Don’t get me wrong, I love Emma Stone but she’s no Glenn Close. The 1996 remake did many things wrong but casting Close as the villain was a genius stroke. I didn’t see how Stone would be able to compete and that was before I heard her dodgy accent.
It takes quite a special film to do something exciting in a runtime of less than 90 minutes. Most likely. any film that doesn’t have enough story to pass the 1 hour 30 mark just won’t have a lot to offer. But, as I’m still off with my schedule when it comes to watching films, any film that doesn’t break 90 is always going to appeal. On Sunday, I once again found myself needing to watch something quickly to review today. Since the pandemic hit, I really have lost my desire to watch films. I need to try and get back into it soon. I’m missing out on so much. Until I do, I guess I’ll just be stuck watching short animated films on Netflix. At least I’m watching things that I wouldn’t have normally seen.
What’s the longest that you’ve had a book on your shelves for? I’m not sure of the exact number but I’ve had You by Austin Grossman since 2015. I’d also bought his book Soon I Will Be Invincible because it sounded really fun. I did try and read that book but I couldn’t get to the end of it. It just spent too long going round the houses and not getting to the point. I guess it didn’t exactly get me in the mood to keep going with him. It also didn’t help that I’d recently read Ready Player One and not enjoyed myself at all. I really wasn’t ready to get into another video game book. I picked it up in May because I was in need of a book starting with “Y” for my Spell the Month challenge. I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t needed this book for that challenge, I definitely wouldn’t have finished it.
Just like my last TBT film review, this film has found a new lease of life in recent years. There’s something about the internet generation and supposedly underdog films. I never watched this when it was released because I was pretty beyond my Disney phase in 2001. I mean, yes, I still loved the classics of my childhood but would I actively go and see the new releases? Hell no! I was a super mature 13-year-old at that point. I wouldn’t be seen dead at a Disney film. Well, maybe I’d ironically go and watch Monsters Inc with my friend for someone’s birthday and pretend that I didn’t secretly love it. But The Emperor’s New Groove was released during that era of Disney when I wasn’t watching any animated films from the studio. So, why not finally watch it?
As I mention far too often, I’m currently taking part in a virtual book club. It’s something my friend set up at the start of the first lockdown and one that I joined after a couple of months. I never thought of myself as a book club kind of person but I’m really enjoying discussing the books every week. My major problem is having nothing of interest to say, which mostly happens with books that I don’t really like. When the monthly pick is an underwhelming book, I tend to forget a lot about it before the meeting. Part of the reason that I try and read the book as close to the deadline as possible. Luckily for me, there has only been a couple of duds since I joined. In fact, it’s been a great range of titles that I’m really glad to have had the chance to read. This month, I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of the potential titles, so I didn’t even vote. Considering how it’s turned out, I think I’ve learnt a valuable lesson about taking responsibility for yourself.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t put much effort into my film choice for this week but things haven’t gone as I expected this weekend. Being incredibly exhausted and pretty busy was a terrible combination. So, when it came time to watch something, I was mostly looking for something quick and tat didn’t require any real effort. At one point, I’d considered watching the Snyder cut of Justice League but I wasn’t capable of concentrating on something for over 4 hours. Especially something that I didn’t enjoy enough the first time to really want to watch again. Instead of Snyder, I turned to Netflix and found the least appealing film that I could find. The fact that it ran to just under 90 minutes was just a happy bonus.
I have only seen Coming to America once before. I watched it as part of my Throwback Thirty series during my 30th birthday blog celebration. I know that there is a lot of love for the film but it didn’t really do much for me. It’s sad that in 2021, its all-Black cast still feels so ground-breaking. It’s also important to note how important the film was and still is in terms of Black art. It’s not that I’m dismissing its entire existence. I just didn’t really think it was that funny. So, I wasn’t exactly overjoyed to hear that a sequel was coming to Prime. Was I still going to watch it? Of course. Did I think I’d enjoy it? Not really.
I had quite a bit to do on Sunday and my day ended up massively going off the rails. Meaning I forgot about watching a film for today’s post until that evening I didn’t really have time to watch what I’d originally planned so I ended up finding the first quick thing I saw on Netflix. What I didn’t realise at the time was that this film was a sequel. I’m not saying that it became difficult to follow because it’s still a kid’s film. It just meant that I was a bit slow on the uptake with certain references. I just thought the writers couldn’t be bothered to include all of the necessary context, which seemed quite an interesting choice.