the telethon runner

I watch TV and write about it. Sometimes I watch movies too.

Gossip Girl, revisited.

It’s been 10 years since Gossip Girl arrived on the scene to change the way we perceive “teen” shows forever. Well, at least New York Magazine seemed to think so, and obvious hometown pride bias aside, I can’t say I disagreed with them.

At first glance, nothing about the actual premise of the show was terribly original – aside from the fact that its viciously nosy namesake narrator and frequent troublemaker is a blogger whose identity remains a secret until the final episode of Season 6.

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The Founder

I don’t normally go for biopics, because I generally find non-fiction boring, but The Founder was a story I was strangely drawn to, possibly because I had read the broad strokes of Ray Kroc’s story a while back and found it fascinating.

For a movie that lacks the major drama we’re used to expecting from biographical films, turning an anti-hero salesman into an interesting figure was a big ask. Still,┬áSiegel and Hancock’s adaptation of the history behind an unusual man who turned a revolutionary idea into the fast food empire we all know today rose to the chalenge.

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What a weird little movie this one was. And I mean in in the best possible way.

Its premise follows the same trope-y plot line many films of the genre do: creepy, lonely blue collar guy obsessed over girl way out of his league becomes her captor.

And then the predictable story gets turned on its head. It’s rare to see Dominic Monaghan play anything but a loveable teddy bear (or maybe it’s just been a while since I saw him in something other than the LOTR trilogy), and his performance as socially awkward, slightly unhinged stalker Seth was actually refreshing, not to mention impressive.

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Overrated movies: The Witch

It’s not often that I watch a movie that profoundly scares, upsets or disturbs me, but which is a tough one to recommend. Such was the case with Requiem For A Dream, for instance: I watched it alone, at night, in my dorm room, and it stayed with me for weeks. Although not a horror flick per se, it terrified me far more than any monster or haunted house movie ever could, because in the case of Requiem, the horror factor was all too real. It’s not for everyone, therefore I wouldn’t be quick to recommend it to a lot of people, unless they have the stomach for it.

Torture porn movies are also famously hard to recommend, even to a horror fan, because I realize not everyone shares my tolerance for gore. Yes, they fit the bill in that they’re scary, but they’re also quite disgusting, and a far cry from the type of horror flicks that seem to top ‘best of’ lists, such as The Babadook, Insidious, The Conjuring and every type of paranormal activity movie that usually leaves me cold. (The one exception to the rule was The Blair Witch Project, and only because of the is-this-real-or-not hype surrounding its original release).

All of this is by way of explaining that, for me, what classifies a movie as ‘horror’, or at least good horror, is quite subjective.

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Gerald’s Game

It’s been a big summer for Mr Stephen King, hasn’t it? With It racking up rave reviews left and right, Mr Mercedes about to wrap up its first season, and now Gerald’s Game out on Netflix, it seems the King of Horror can do no wrong these days.

I’ve yet to see It (it was just released this week in these parts) and I’m holding off to binge-watch Mr Mercedes, but I did just see Gerald’s Game, and it didn’t disappoint.

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Summer Roundup part 2: movies

Alright, we’ve done books and TV, now let’s dive into this random assortment of movies; there’s no rhyme or reason to this selection, other than it focuses on (mostly) recent films, so without further ado, here’s what I watched this summer:

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Summer Roundup part 1: books & TV shows

Yes, I realise it’s been officially fall for a while now, but both the weather and my current location still scream summer to me, so I’m still operating in beach mode. And although it’s hasn’t been a conventionally productive period for me, it was quite relaxing, and exactly what I needed after a not so wonderful winter.

And it’s been somewhat productive in terms of pop-culture consumption. I enjoyed several books, movies and TV shows, and that’s exactly what this post is about: a handy list for me to keep track of everything I read and watched over the summer.

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This one was truly a revelation, probably because, even going in with high expectations, I didn’t think Ozark would actually be THIS good. And it really IS that good.

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The Handmaid’s Tale

I must admit, I was reluctant to begin The Handmaid’s Tale, despite all the rave reviews and the positive comments from people whose taste in TV I trust completely. The subject matter felt a bit too heavy for summertime consumption, and, having skipped the Mad Men craze, I was never a huge fan of Elizabeth Moss and her perpetually sour expression.

Having binge-watched the entire first season in a matter of days, I’m the first to admit I was wrong, and so glad I soldiered on, in spite of my initial apprehension. I’ve had the book on my reading list for years and kept putting it off for the same reasons I kept avoiding the TV show: I tend to consume novels in the summer, and a tragic tale set in a post-apocalyptic patriarchy just doesn’t scream beach-appropriate reading material. Thus, aside from a general summary of the main plot line, I was largely unaware of the actual story, and went in not expecting what I was about to watch.

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