Sooooo October’s nearly over. Yeah that happened. How?? When?? Tomorrow will be Christmas, next week New Year and after that, Easter. What the hell.
It’s been a short while since my last post and October has been such a busy month I thought it would be a nice idea to round all the simple stuff up in one neat post. I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but I do get to a moral dilemma when I know some people would prefer spoilers in order to prepare for what’s coming.
I read one book this month, and I read it in about 48 hours. This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. READ. IT. NOW. This book was more gripping and raw than a multi-million dollar blockbuster movie, and quite the emotional roller-coaster too. He’s compiled the journals he kept during his years as a junior doctor, and these gems of wisdom, horror, and brilliant cynicism make up a book which paints an insider’s view of life in the NHS. I laughed out loud at so many points, only to find myself sobered by the very next sentence, then chuckling again at the one after that. I wanted to share so many passages with other people that I may as well have stood on a table and read the whole book aloud to all of my family and friends.
The songs I added to my Spotify playlist this month are: “Dick” by Mae Muller (I’ve been waiting for this to be released since I saw her perform it back in January, as anyone who saw my Instagram story will know); “Cold” by James Blunt; “Mysterons”, “Sour Times” and “Glory Box” by Portishead and “My Honest Face” by Inhaler. So. A nice mix there?
Exciting news on the music front was seeing Hang Massive in Leeds, which was one of the most interesting gigs I’ve been to. I’ve never felt so deeply relaxed and yet energetic at the same time. Highly recommend seeing them live if you ever get the chance. I also also just booked Catfish and the Bottlemen tickets for November and MUNA for December, so lots more exciting music to come.
First off I watched Robin Hood with my dad, and wow. Two hours of pure nail-biting tension. Plus the small matter of Taron Egerton, who is just a gift to mankind. I thought the whole cast and filming was great though; we absolutely loved it. Out of the countless pyro-filled films churned out each year, I can’t believe this one slipped under my radar for so long. No firearms, no aircraft, no cool-good-guy-walking-away-from-explosions, just 116 minutes of brutal and convincing action.
After that, my tastes strayed somewhat. Maybe it was to do with Joe being away for 3 weeks, or maybe just the autumn chill in the air, but I ended up in a Netflix romance wormhole for a good few days. For context, I usually avoid them because they often wind up making me cry. I tend to stick to post-apocalypse/dystopian moves or some other kind of action genre. But not this month apparently. I rewatched Alex Strangelove, which I first watched around this time last year, and it was just as adorable the second time round. The Netflix description, something along the lines of a teen boy planning to lose his virginity to his girlfriend, does no justice to the film’s plot, and almost put me off. Although the whole virginity thing is a major plot point, I think the struggle with identifying and navigating the various feelings that come with friendship, growing up, and both romantic and sexual attraction is really the focus of this film. It’s a cute and weird little film that doesn’t try to be something it isn’t.
Further into the hole we go: next up was The Perfect Date. A while ago (probably this time last year, around when I watched Alex Strangelove. Must be an autumn thing) I watched Sierra Burgess is a Loser and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and, like pretty much everyone else at the time, was enchanted by the cheeky grin of Noah Centineo. The Perfect Date popped up in the “trending” banner, or “recommended” or “similar to”; I have no idea; but I decided to give it a watch and…I actually quite liked it? Look, it’s hardly groundbreaking, but it was a nice watch with blankets and a mug of hot chocolate.
Next up was The DUFF, which had been on my list for a while and I never truly felt like watching it until this weird teenage romance film craving came over me. So I hit play and, again I enjoyed. It was a typical set up in that the main character (who dares to be smart and wear flannel) obviously lived right next door to the gorgeous love interest-to-be, a football player failing science class. The two strike a deal wherein she helps him study, he helps her with a makeover, and if you can ignore the fact that he’s super harsh to her in the beginning, it’s a kind of cute story. Again, not groundbreaking stuff but I’d still watch it again. Even if main dude looks uncomfortably old for a high schooler.
After was…interesting. I didn’t need the Wattpad studios logo at the beginning to tell me that this story clearly started as a fic on the internet. It bore all the markers: bad boy falls for good girl, innocent pastel-wearing girl starting college, and the male character with a troubled past was obviously the son of someone important in the college (I forget who). If you can push aside the obvious cliches, the story wasn’t bad and overall I enjoyed the film. I found out later that there’s a whole book series, and I’m trying to decide whether to go for it or spare myself the cringe.
I don’t quite remember the timeline of all the films I watched. I’d like to point out that I didn’t just sit in front of my laptop for 72 hours straight, but it should also be known that I think I did watch them all within a week, so there was a small amount of vegging involved. I watched Battle next. It was a Norwegian film about a dancer whose life changes very unexpectedly and she falls in with Mikael and his hip hop crew. With the contrasting dancing styles it would be easy to compare it to the Step Up films but they’re really not alike at all. Battle was much less sensational, altogether more muted and really beautiful. I’d happily watch it three times in a row.
Next came A Cinderella Story, which was such an incredible throwback to the era of flip phones and chatrooms. I can’t believe society cares so much about not letting kids talk to strangers online and then we continue to gobble up films based on that exact premise. Ultimately, what A Cinderella Story, The Perfect Date, After and The DUFF all have in common is the classic loner-girl-gets-cool-guy trope, which has been done to death and propagates so many harmful stereotypes and yet here I am lapping it up.
Loco Love was one that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy at about 5 minutes in, but ended up sobbing about. It’s a forbidden love story between a Latina girl and a white guy in Arizona, portraying some horrific racism that is quite shocking to see so openly. The American social and political climate is such that I knew attitudes like the ones in the film exist, but I’ve never seen something quite like it played out in front of me. I loved the way the dialogue flicks back and forth between English and Spanish, sometimes multiple times even in one sentence, and I highly recommend the film. (This last sentence is a spoiler) A word of warning though: when the summary talks of forbidden love, a big neon ROMEO AND JULIET warning light should go off in your brain. Mine did not.
The last film I watched this month was Swiped, another with Noah Centineo. I hated it. It all felt weird. I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a slightly surreal, exaggerated study of society’s obsession with dating apps and arrogant college entrepreneurs, but it unsettled me. The story was so over the top and no one even questioned it, I couldn’t tell if the film was taking itself seriously or not. Centineo acts a great cocky teenage boy though, very believable.
I’m very behind on the Bake Off, so I desperately need to catch up on that. I’ve got about 4 episodes still to watch, and so far I’ve managed to avoid spoilers.
At the beginning of this month I finished watching Manhunt: Unabomber which I ADORED. With none of the guns, cars and violence that drive a lot of crime programs, this one focused almost entirely on the office hours put in by countless people when the pressure is on a case. And yet, it was riveting. The show’s version of James Fitzgerald, said to be based on several key member of the team and not just him, is an introverted, passionate character who at times appeared to care more about the process than the end result, which is understandably a very unusual thought process for a) anyone investigating crime and b) a TV show about arresting a criminal, but added another layer of interest.
This month I’ve been into the series Whitechappel on Netflix. I do generally go for British police programmes (Line of Duty and Luther and my absolute favourites) and whilst this one doesn’t quite follow the same formula as the rest, I do think it’s worth a watch. There are only 3 episodes per season and each season focuses on a different bout of copycat killings. I’ve just started season 3 and still loving it. It is pretty gruesome though, just a caution.
And that’s my October, at least as far as media is concerned. I’m finishing this and posting from Leeds Bradford airport ahead of a long weekend in Spain, so plenty more to look forward to for the rest of 2019!