Hello again and it’s Elise! I’m back with another monthly-wrap up post complete with reviews of all the movies, music, and television I’ve consumed in the last month, and also it’s my first month back from hiatus. So:
I mean… I graduated high school! Which was really really excellent. I’m going to miss my friends a lot but I honestly have been desperately waiting to go to college for my entire life (I think we all know this), so I’m kinda like… thank god.
I’m currently spending half my time living with a good friend of my life part time, which is really really cool and I love it. I’m also working part-time driving a man who had a stroke back and forth to rehab appointments, which is still going great! This is actually technically the month I quit my other job, which I’m glad I did.
Oh. My yearbook prediction contained a subliminal reference to me being gay (they’re sarcastic things you would never do, and mine was “says the word straight without making a joke about it”) and they cut it without alerting me (seniors pick their own predictions). I loved that! It was a nice little “you knew we didn’t care about you, but now you get to really know it” kiss-off.
Oh, I went to pride with a bunch of my good friends! That was super super cool.
Um. What else. I got uh… reactivated on Twitter after being deactivated all month? I stopped doing snapchat streaks?
Okay, I’m kidding. I actually kept a very detailed diary of everything happening in my life but honestly I just really don’t want to talk about it right now? I’m doing um… okay. I’m just constantly worried that decisions will be made to ruin that at any point because my happiness is completely dependent on the moods of others in my life, and I think that’s led me to be on edge to the point where I cannot focus on anything, including reading.
Also, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the degree to which I cannot wait for college. That thought has not left my head once.
I honestly… just wasn’t doing very well during June, and I’m not going to review these because I didn’t technically complete any of them (though I made progress on each one). As a result, my goals this month are a little less ambitious.
The only exception are these two goals:
- Get caught up on three of these: Good Omens, Schitt’s Creek, Fleabag, Gentleman Jack, Killing Eve, Lucifer, Black Sails, Sense8. Also, watch ten movies.✅ (I finished Gentleman Jack season one, finished Killing Eve season two, and started and finished Good Omens; I also did a marvel movie marathon and it’s probably not worth counting how many movies I watched.)
- Clean both of my bedrooms in full.✅ (originally I thought I hadn’t done this but I actually kinda did?? I’m proud!!)
- Keep doing my job.✅
- Catch up on written reviews to the point where I have only two not written.❌
- Schedule blog for the first week of August.❌
- Upload one video with new camera.❌
- Read 15 books total in June.❌
- Finish Fleabag and finish a season of Lucifer, Black Sails, or Sense8.❌
- Listen to five new albums.❌
- Get WIP to 20,000 words, excluding drafts of random scenes.❌
- Draft an outline for my WIP.❌✅ (I’m already getting super close to this!!)
- Learn the four basic notes on the guitar.❌
- Try to enjoy myself during week of July 15th, as per therapist instructions.❌
- Black Mirror, season five | ★★☆☆☆
Like… we can agree this season was kind of awful, right? I’ve been working on my official ranking of Black Mirror for three years now and I was so disappointed by this season. Seasons three and four were so creative, and innovative, and amazing, and this season just had nothing to say.
Striking Vipers is the single most disappointing episode of the show because it establishes an incredible premise and then squanders it (the kiss cop-out just made me… so tired). Rachel Jack and Ashley Too is kind of funny sometimes but the protagonist is one-dimensional and constructed to the point of hilarity, as is her sister, and I also had a hard job getting over the fact that this is genuinely Miley Cyrus’ promo tactics (meta I guess?) Smithereens actually doesn’t suck but it basically only doesn’t suck because Andrew Scott and Topher Grace are talented. It’s literally an anti texting while driving PSA, although with an ending that kinda subverts that. I mean, I actually didn’t dislike this one, it was just middling.
No wait I wanted to talk about Striking Vipers some more because I’m mad. they really came up with a premise this good n then cast these two actors and then did this. they really had two men have digital sex for an hour with one of them in a female-presenting body and then kiss and be like “so nah that’s not good” without even interrogating the GENDER implications of that…….. there was. so much to be said here about toxic masculinity and gender performance and absolutely 0 of it was said ever and I’m just mad because I think even the last twenty minutes being different could’ve made this a solid five, or at least close. the cis heterosexuality of it all. you’re not San Junipero and you’re fucking failing at coming close
- Killing Eve, season two | ★★★★★
FINALLY COMPLETED! I find it fascinating how quickly this show volleys back and forth between comedy and tragedy, between being fun and being utterly terrifying. You laugh, and then realize that makes you almost as bad as the literal murder onscreen. Above all else, Killing Eve is a show about women, and the eerie, tense relationship between ruthless killer Villanelle and detective Eve. It is utterly impossible to breathe through their interactions. This continues to be amazing, although I haven’t finished season two yet.
- Gentleman Jack, season one | ★★★★★
While usually portrayed in the series as confident in her butch identity, Lister confesses that this confidence comes at a high price – it required her to forget just how impossible it is for anybody to accept her as she is. For LGBTQ people, the knowledge that homophobia is constant forces us to “rise above it” in order to survive. Yet sometimes, it feels like rising above it requires us to believe that it doesn’t hurt anymore. It always does, eventually. For Lister, strength has been accomplished alone… In front of Walker, Lister is allowed to be vulnerable. She is allowed to cry, and be held lovingly in return. Gone is the overcompensation of confidence to survive pain, and in its place is the courage to be vulnerable in the presence of someone who understands you as you are. –Much Ado About Cinema
Also completed! This show is a period drama with occasional comic elements about a real lesbian from the 1820s named Anne Lister, who decides she wants a wife and seduces Ann Walker to accomplish this. It’s fucking amazing. The writing of this show is sometimes a bit incosistent, and the B plot integration a bit jarring, and yet I think I’m really struggling to be objective about this one. The tension of being gay and in love in such an old time, but finding a way to be together anyway is just… so romantic. That moment in the finale with them in the church where they just look at each other is so excellent. I Like It When We Play 1950 Mp3.
- Fleabag, season one | ★★★★★
In 12 episodes, we don’t see a character being built up through scenes in the conventional way… We see her dismantled, speaking less, becoming more opaque, pushing the camera away until the final scene, when she walks away from it and forbids us to follow. The happier she is, we come to realize, the more the show must come to an end; she must extricate herself from an audience, from performance. –Fleabag confesses to conceal (spoilers contained)
This show is a dark comedy that also has a lot to say about the difficulty of love; the way in which we deflect from genuine human connection for reasons of trauma or simply fear. It also, rather brilliantly, uses fourth wall breaks as a method for conveying fear of intimacy and performance. Fleabag is terrified of allowing people to truly see her, so she comments to the audience rather than allowing herself to be seen freely. The meta commentary level? God tier. It’s all about submitting to the mortifying ordeal of being known and it’s wonderful
- Good Omens, season one and only | ★★★★★
And that’s the difference. The 1990 novel was about questioning authority, questioning structures, questioning whatever role society hands you. The Antichrist just… refuses to be the Antichrist, and that saves the day. Crowley is our model: neither angel nor demon, critical of both, happy in his own world. Az is the one who needs to finish shaking off his programming. And when I was a teenager, that was exactly what I needed to hear.
But now… Adam says that Satan cannot punish him, because Satan did not love him first. This series is about the terrible risks of loving, and the strength that comes from being honest, being vulnerable (”I’m just a kid” “That’s not a bad thing to be.”) The importance of letting yourself be known. Series!Az and Series!Crowley switch bodies at the end. How much more *known* can you get? –this absolutely heartbreaking analysis
I guess with all these tv shows we’re out here on our bullshit about the mortifying ordeal of being known!
Good Omens is a comedy about the apocalypse, involving the antichrist, a prophet’s descendent, a satanic nun who fucks everything up, and an angel and a demon who have stayed unlikely allies for the last 6000 years. It is only six episodes and it has taken over my life completely.
I think I need to fully review this television show at some point because I absolutely have never loved anything more? This show is so gloriously funny (like, the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, how dare anyone else even claim to compare) but also so… Good. I really like media that manages to be simultaneously pretty dark and The Most Wholesome Thing In The World and this is exactly that.
Also I’m… constantly thinking about six thousand years. Like I can’t stop thinking about that. That’s romance babes!!
Lucifer (season 3-4), Black Sails (seasons 1-5), Sense8 (season 2), A Series of Unfortunate Events (season 2-3), The Haunting of Hill House (season 1)
want to start soon:
Euphoria (season 1), Avatar: The Last Airbender (seasons 1-5), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (seasons 1-3), Siren (Hulu) (season 1)
new movies: 11
This was the month of the Marvel marathon and as such I will be skipping a good 3/4 of the movies I watched this month. You can find a new ranking of all the marvel movies here, and a post about my new least favorite movie ever here, and I’ll probably do a post ranking all the Marvel movies once I finish the marathon. But yeah.
- Apocalypse Now (1979) dir. Francis Ford Copolla | ★★★☆☆
I think my absolute hatred of the book this was inspired by may have outweighed how objectively good this movie is. anyway skipping reviewing this
- Lilo and Stitch (2002) dir. Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders | ★★★☆☆
I had never seen this movie. Like, literally had not seen it. Wild, right? Because I sobbed, like, multiple times. I absolutely have never been this emotionally destroyed by a disney film before… the audacity of the fact that this is not considered the best disney film. Insane
- Snowpiercer (2013) dir. Bong Joon-ho | ★★★☆☆
If Snowpiercer had merely told the tale of an oppressed working class rising up to seize power from an evil overlord, it would already have been an improvement over most of the political messages in mainstream cinema. There are all sorts of nice touches in its portrayal of a declining capitalism that can maintain its ideological legitimacy even when it literally has no more bullets in its guns… But the story Bong tells goes beyond that. It’s about the limitations of a revolution which merely takes over the existing social machinery rather than attempting to transcend it. And it’s all the more effective because the heart of that critique comes as a late surprise, from a character we might not expect. –from this analysis
I wrote up a bunch about this and then I fucking deleted it. I deleted it. Please kill me here because dear god I loved this movie. I was so fucked up by this movie that I’m still not quite able to process it. I think I spent the entire last hour of the movie screeching. I know this director has several other films (including Okja on Netflix) and I’m going to have to watch them all now because this was cinema.
First of all, I have a new official my-favorite-songs playlist! For those of you who used to follow my recommendations playlist (all, like, two of you). Things you can find on this recommendations playlist include the fact that I discovered Your Best American Girl by Mitski during July and also, that I’ve now listened to Scorpio Rising by Soccer Mommy literally hundreds of times and I discovered it in the last week of May!
Before we get album reviews going, I have a full playlist for June here! Some of the highlights include:
- Unholy by Hey Violet is a bop and a half and I’ve listened to it way too many times
- Tennis Court by Lorde suddenly became my favorite song. like very abruptly too
- I discovered the pure sadness! of Fine by Kacey Musgraves!
- I love Mitski (I just listened to Be the Cowboy back in February!!) but Townie is just too great. It sounds like how a breakdown feels. The lyric “and I’ve tried sharing and I’ve tried caring and I’ve tried putting out” slaps but the lyrics to the chorus are just… OOF: “I want a love that falls as fast as a body from the balcony” just… still leaves me shaking. And then! the ending! aka the most! transcendently good lyrical ending to literally anything ever.
→LOVE+FEAR (2019) MARINA
→Clean (2018) Soccer Mommy
Marina’s LOVE+FEAR is excellent, but I’ll admit it here: I didn’t think it would be. I liked LOVE (Enjoy Your Life was the song of May for me), but I didn’t love it (ha), and honestly thought it stayed pretty surface level. There were a lot of good songs but no great ones. I wanted more. As a result, I didn’t actually listen to Fear until this past month, and I’m honestly just going to say it: it’s so much better than Love and made the album for me. I think in places this got a tiny bit overproduced, but the catharsis is so real.
- Meh Tier: Handmade Heaven which is just overproduced and meh. And To Be Human is sonically just not great? I’m confused as to how it’s even remotely popular because it’s just… I mean, great lyrics, but I can’t.
- Good Tier: Orange Trees and Baby are both huge bops. True is a self love anthem. Superstar is really romantic and I honestly love it so much? Same with End of the Earth, LOVE’s ending; the production was a bit much at first but her voice is just… OOF. I love that FEAR starts with Believe in Love, a bop about trust, and Life is Strange, a song about accepting that life is weird as fuck. The roasts on FEAR are great too, though: You slaps, No More Suckers is an anthem that might eventually make god tier, and the other two made it into my top tracks list.
- God Tier: Enjoy Your Life was my og fave off this album and I still kinda love it. Karma is so much of a bop I don’t even know how to process it; the catharsis of Emotional Machine is wonderful and “since I was a teen / cut my feelings off clean” is really good. The lyric “I hate this city but I stay cause of you” from Too Afraid sticks in my head at all times for no reason; also, the ending slaps. But listen. Soft to Be Strong is the absolute best song on the album. I have never heard anything so tender. The way this album ends on those soft piano notes genuinely kills me.
Also, the way the music drops out and then she sings this section gets me every time:
My other new favorite discovery was Clean by Soccer Mommy, who I discovered when she opened for a Kacey Musgraves concert in February. She is so good live and I’d always wanted to fine time to discover her whole discography, and I’m so glad I did because holy shit. this album is very summer depression and it is also insane.
- Meh Tier: The only one for this is Blossom (Wasting All My Time), which I just don’t think is that great sonically.
- Good Tier: Still Clean is an excellent and sad overture; that sonic transition at 3:10 haunts my dreams. Cool is the closest the album gets to a bop, tbh, and is great, and very I-don’t-want-to-be-human anymore; I love how the ending sounds like a breakdown. Last Girl, which is very I’m-not-good-enough, and Flaw, which is similar, both make the good tier as well.
- God Tier: Your Dog is a jam, and the lyrics are just so amazing; starting a song on “I don’t want to be your fucking dog” was an iconic moment for us all. And then there are the last four songs on the album, which I think form the best section. First there’s Skin, a very sad bop that sounds like the beginning of a breakdown: “Falling into my sins / You’re still in, you’re still in my skin, skin / I just wish you also felt like this” is such incredible chorus I don’t know how to process it. And that song is followed by the opening chords of Scorpio Rising, which is one of my all-time favorite songs now; I’ll address below. I love how after that catharsis, the album goes into an interlude, and then ends on the quiet and tender Wildflowers.
Okay. I want to talk. About Scorpio Rising, which I would currently count as one of my all time favorite songs. The opening notes? Gorgeous. The transition to angry at 1:15 always leaves me just a little bit in pain. The line “you want warmth and I’m something colder / I’m putting your hands to her heart” is so ouch. I love so much how this song starts on quiet and tender and then builds and goes into anger, but then slowly reveals that it’s not anger at another, but sadness and anger at self. The in-and-out movement of the song is so wonderful, making you pay attention and take notice. And this verse legitimately fucks me up every single time:
I don’t think I can even process how good this bridge is I don’t think I’m capable of processing it? (Also, I named a playlist after it.)
How were your months? Any tv shows or movies on here you’ve seen? Any music you love? Any goals you achieved? Let me know in the comments!