A Netflix original documentary following Michelle Obama on her book tour for her autobiography Becoming. I enjoyed the book and the documentary covers some of the same material. The joy of the documentary, however, is in seeing the reaction that people have to meeting Mrs. Obama and her own genuine enthusiasm and care for the people she meets. It’s hopeful at a time when there doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of hope to be found.
On Netflix by myself
Circus of Books ☆☆☆☆☆
Unexpectedly moving documentary about a family run bookstore in West Hollywood. The bookstore carried gay porn and other adult material at a time when doing so could land you in jail. The owners of the store were a middle-class straight Jewish couple who were just trying to make a living. Instead, their place of business became the center of gay life in West Hollywood including during the worst of the AIDS epidemic. The documentary was made by their daughter who reveals that she and her brothers had no idea that this is what their parents did for a living. Lots of interesting conversation about morality, obscenity, religion, family dynamics, love, shame.
On Netflix Party with Ann, Pat, and Al
Portrait of a Lady on Fire ☆☆☆☆☆
I had wanted to see this when it came out in theaters but it came and went so quickly that I didn’t get a chance to. I wish I had because it’s beautiful and I think it would have been even more so on a big screen. When it started, I thought it was going to be too slow but it wasn’t. It’s not an action-packed movie by any means but the story is given the space it needs to be told. I really loved it.
On Amazon Prime with Pat and Al
Carrie Pilby ☆☆
This was one of the worst movies I have seen in a while. Really unlikable main character. Really problematic relationships all around. Weirdly focused on where the characters went to college and making judgements based on that.
On Netflix with Ann, Pat, and Al
I had been hearing great buzz about this show but I don’t have HBO (and don’t plan to subscribe–I already have enough media platforms) so I figured I wouldn’t get a chance to see it any time soon. But in celebration of Juneteenth, HBO made the entire season freely available for the weekend. So I binge-watched the 9 episodes and really loved it. It’s a fascinating exploration of race relations in an alternate version of the United States (although not “alternate” in some really important ways) with masked crime fighters and one superhero character with super powers. Other than an extended and predictable superhero fight scene in the last episode, this who kept me riveted.
On HBO.com by myself
This movie reminded me of The Young Offenders which we saw last month, except this movie is set in Scotland instead of Ireland. BEATS is also darker and sadder. But both focus on the friendship of two young men whose lot in life is not great and a great adventure that they set out on. The adventure in The Young Offenders is a long bike ride to the Irish seashore to try to find the loot from a smuggling boat while the adventure in BEATS is to find a way to attend a soon-to-be illegal rave.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.