Tonight, I watched The Namesake in honor of Irrfhan Khan, who passed away today at the age of 53 of cancer. Khan was a celebrated Indian actor, but I have only seen him in his English speaking parts, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire and The Namesake. I wrote a little something about The Namesake, one of the ten movies that influenced me, and here is an excerpt from that blog:
This book and movie are my life in a nutshell. Kal Penn as Nikhil/Gogol is the quintessential ABCD (American Born Confused Desi, for those of you not attuned to Indian American terms). He doesn’t get his FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) parents, and his FOBs don’t get him. He loves his parents and the customs, but he’s embarrassed to show them in public and share them with his friends. He is even more embarrassed about his name, enough to start using his “given” name rather than what his parents had been calling him his entire life.
Check it out, if you can!
Everything leaving Netflix in May 2020. These are the shows and movies of interest to me:
Scandal ~ never saw it when it was on, so it’s on now!
Royal Pains ~ LOVED Mark Feuerstein, and if I had a dollar for every time someone said I looked like Divya (Reshma Shetty), which I don’t, I would donate it all to the hospitality and healthcare industries now.
First Wives Club
Red Dawn ~ the original 1984, or I wouldn’t even bother mentioning it. Also will be in my 80s Movie Bracket coming up!
Outbreak ~ I mean, it’s appropriate for this to be on Netflix now, right?
Yours, Mine and Ours ~ guilty pleasure, plus Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo are just so cute (and hot)
Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere, collection 1 ~ because it’s just so calming to see happy trees being made!
The Final Destination series ~ not interesting to me, but might be to some of you…
Ghost of Girlfriends Past ~ awful movie, but a guilty pleasure, plus Matthew McConnaughey and Jennifer Garner…
I will update this post with other shows and movies that I watch during this period, so please check back!
I started my quarantine earlier than everyone when I lost my job in November. Granted, I could leave the house whenever I wanted, but I didn’t have much money to spend, and I was working part-time at Crate & Barrel, so whatever I left the house for had to be cheap or free, and close by. This meant a lot of urban walks, nearby state parks, and lots of trips to visit my parents, brother, sister-in-law and nephew.
Most of my local excursions were during the week when places were less crowded, like the overnight trip I splurged on for The Biltmore House in February before the Downton Abbey exhibit closed. I did sneak in a visit to Louisiana to visit family and get my crawfish and beignet cravings satisfied the first week of March.
Then quarantine hit, and my part-time job was gone. So that meant a lot of reading and watching movies and shows. I started a full-time job on April 6 (working from home, of course), so my viewing is limited to nights and weekends now.
Hunters (Amazon Prime)
The name I saw on all of the promos was Al Pacino, but the actor that stood out to me was Logan Lerman, the lead actor. The Hunters is an Amazon original series with just one season, but the last episode makes it clear that a second season is coming. The series is set in 1977, and some flashbacks to World War II concentration camps, with a group of people from NYC hunting Nazis living in America.
You’ve all heard the rumors – some Nazis escaped the war tribunals to settle in South America, Mexico, Canada and the United States. This series being set in the 1970s means that these individuals would be in their 50s, 60s and 70s, on average, so living a fulfilling lifestyle is still possible. It feels like a Blaxploitation Quentin Tarantino mashup with some conspiracy theory overtones. Between the music, the wardrobe, and a glimpse at life before cellular phones and the internet, this period piece was the perfect pick for this history nut.
Mrs. America (Hulu)
Another period piece set in the 1970s, this original Hulu biopic series about Phyllis Schafly stars Cate Blanchett in the title role with Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, and Elizabeth Banks, John Slattery, Sarah Paulsen and Jeanne Tripplehorn in supporting roles.
The first episode introduces what we now consider shocking concepts, like women needing husband’s permission to get a credit card, and some concepts that we still see in 2020, like women being told they should smile more. I cringed at a few scenes, but that was the reality our mothers and grandmothers lived in, and a great reminder for how far women have come, but I lmow we still have a long way to go, to borrow from the Virginia Slims campaign. Even a year or two ago, I was asked to take notes during a meeting I was leading, even though there were many others in the meeting who were not talking like me the majority of the time.
The series just debuted on April 15 with 3 episodes, with 6 more episodes to drop weekly. I’ll be waiting with bated breath every week because I’ll still follow quarantine rules until the end of May, at minimum.
The Bookshop (Hulu)
The always delightful Emily Mortiner stars as Florence Geeen, a bookshop owner in a British village. The film starts slowly, but when she opens the sparks start to fly as the villagers flock to buy books, but some in the village are against the bookshop and Florence, for some reason. Watch to find out why!
The Surprise (Amazon Prime)
Seems like a morbid subject, especially given our current circumstances, but I really enjoyed this movie, and believe it will be added to the frequently watched rotation. It’s Dutch with subtitles. An eccentric, wealthy middle-aged man loses his mother, and discovers an unusual firm that offers illegal assisted suicide. While he is picking out his coffin, he meets a woman also exploring this option. They fall in love, and the plot thickens when they try to get out of their contracts to end their lives.
This 1963 classic is set almost entirely in Paris, and stars Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in one of his last roles. Walter Matthau has a supporting role as well. It feels like a Hitchcock film, especially with Cary Grant in the movie, the suspense, and twists and turns of the plot, but it was written by Peter Stone, and directed by Stanley Donen, with music by Henry Mancini.
The Hitchcock feel is derived from a plot centered around a heroine who doesn’t know who to trust, and several characters who are convincing her why she should trust them over the others. Suspense is interspersed with comic relief, and with the inevitable flirtations between the Grant and Hepburn characters. I first saw this movie in college, and it remains a favorite of mine.
Crazy Stupid Love (Hulu)
I did not think I would like this movie when I first saw it because I doubted that Steve Carrell could carry a movie with such a serious plotline. Lesson learned: never doubt a great actor’s depth! Carrell stars as a middle-aged man whose wife (Julianne Moore) asks for a divorce, so he turns to a new friend, Jacob (Ryan Gosling) for advice on how to win his wife back. Emma Stone also has a supporting role in this surprisingly feel-good flick.
Drunk History (Hulu)
I’ve seen bits and pieces of Drunk History episodes on Instagram and YouTube, but I’ve never watched entire segments. Warning – definitely not kid friendly, but some of the topics that they feature may be great lessons from a historical perspective for those who are home schooling and can go off curriculum. I watched the series on Hulu, but it is also available on YouTube, and it originally aired on Comedy Central. Some of my favorite actors and actresses have cameos in episodes, including Winona Ryder, Laura Dern, Owen Wilson, Josh Charles and Colin Hanks. There is even an episode on Atlanta and Georgia based topics – Coca Cola, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Ku Klux Klan. Pretty much every episode sends me down a rabbit hole of Google searches, and the last episode from last season about Typhoid Mary did not disappoint!
Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
Like Big Little Lies, Reese Witherspoon picked another winner to adapt a book into a limited streaming series. This time, she picked Hulu to stream, which I love since I didn’t have HBO to watch Big Little Lies, and had to watch at someone else’s house. If you get a chance, read the book as well. As usual, the book is always better than the movie or show. Even better than Little Fires Everywhere was Celeste Ng’s first book, Everything I Never Told You. Little Fires Everywhere is set in the Shaker Heights, where everything is planned perfectly, from wardrobes and flower beds to the layout of the neighborhood. When Mia and her daughter Pearl move to Shaker Heights, it reveals the cracks in the perfect veneer of the Richardson family. Reese Witherspoon stars as Elena Richardson, and Kerry Washington plays Mia Warren. Joshua Jackson reunites with Witherspoon (remember Cruel Intentions?) to play her husband, Bill. Joshua Jackson played my favorite character on Dawson’s Creek, Pacey Witter… be still my heart!
The Wilde Wedding
The Wilde Wedding features Glenn Close & John Malkovich, two actors I greatly enjoy watching. This dysfunctional family comedy is about a retired actress about to be married for the fourth time, and her ex-husband is attending. I’m sure we are all realizing just how dysfunctional our families are now that we are spending so much time together. This seems like a good time to laugh at another dysfunctional family!
Chef Show (Netflix)
The Chef Show is a collaboration between Jon Favreau and Roy Choi, who served as Favreau’s technical advisor on the 2014 hit film, Chef. Choi gained culinary fame for his Mexican-Korean fusion taco truck in LA, and his brick and mortar restaurant, Kogi.
Favreau and Choi team up each episode to visit restaurants and chefs around the country, as well as celebrities who share their favorite recipes. Chef guests range from Aaron Franklin of Franklin’s BBQ in Austin, Wolfgang Puck and David Chang to Atlanta’s very own Ford Fry. Restaurants featurd included Holeman & Finch and The Optimist in Atlanta, Wexler’s Deli, Border Grill and Guerilla Tacos. Celebrity guests include Gwyneth Paltrow, Seth Rogen and Robert Rodriguez, though some could argue that the chefs are celebrities now too!
There is only one season of The Chef Show so far, and I really hope they make more because I love the raw, uncut look at cooking through Favreau and Choi’s eyes. If they make a mistake, or a recipe doesn’t work the way they thought it would, they don’t shoot another take. They made a batch of beignets with an old box of Cafe Du Monde mix, and said, next time, check the expiration date. It’s not your typical cooking show!
Watching The Chef Show inspired me to watch Chef, of course. I have an infatuation with movies about food and cooking in case you haven’t noticed.
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Yes, I realize I’m late to the game, but better late than never right? I’m sure many of us, especially Gen X and older, watched it for nostalgia with the series being set in the 1980s. Some of us tuned in because it was filmed in Georgia, with Gwinnett Place Mall getting a ton of screen time in Season 3. But most of us just loved the plot, characters, and not knowing what would happen next. Stranger Things is not your typical science fiction or supernatural show.
Maybe next I’ll try Narcos and Ozark. I will not be jumping on the Tiger King bandwagon, and chances are you won’t catch me watching Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. But, keep checking back and see what else I watch!