Monday, November 3, 2014

Studying [TV, movies and books] Very Hard

My exam has been booked in on the 11th of November, and now that it’s attached to an actual date rather than being a vague “at some point during the next month” thing, I’ve started freaking out, knuckling down, and properly procrastinating. It is for this reason that I have no idea what the point or definition of a sacrament is, but I’m completely up-to-date with the latest episodes of John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme and am two-thirds of the way through The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb (this season isn’t the funniest of the Souvenir Programme, but it’s still an enjoyable way of passing the time; The Wife Drought is gold in a hilarious but also infuriating way - I’ll be bombarding you with quotes soon). Please allow me to now tell you about more fascinating non-study things I’ve been spending my time on (the clever thing about blogging as procrastination is that I’m sitting at my computer and I look like I’m working!!!!!!):
I’ve just finished watching the first season of Girls, which I kind of expected to hate but didn’t. It’s funny. I love that the characters are messy and ordinary, and that they’re more interested in figuring out who to be and what to do with their lives than shopping for shoes or finding Mr Right; I keep thinking, “I’ve never seen anything so normal on TV before,” and I LOVE that. I love that I can see a younger me in their self-centredness and angst and also in their friendships and fun; there was a scene in which Hannah and Marnie crazy dance in their apartment, and the refreshing relatability of it made me teary. I hope season two’s just as good.
As for movies I’ve seen lately, the film August: Osage County was brilliant, but a couple of the characters are just a leeeettle too close to the crazy person trapped inside me I’m absolutely terrified will one day claw her way out, so I think perhaps I got too emotionally involved and ended up feeling battered and nervous when it was over. I really liked it, though. In a painful, scared way. 

The film About Time was not what I’d expected; I’d assumed, seeing the movie poster when it was out, that the title referred to a long-awaited marriage proposal, which seemed a bit dull and overdone, but it turns out I’d made an ass of u and me because it’s not about that at all. I liked it, and though it was cheesy and I felt as though I was being emotionally manipulated throughout the entire film, it was quite touching in parts (even with me rebelling and trying very hard not to be moved) and overall pretty good. The soundtrack was made up of songs I have in a single playlist, so I kinda felt like it should have been my movie match, but there was a lot that I found unrealistic about it (besides the main premise, which was expectedly unrealistic), although maybe some wives are always cheery, gorgeous, quick to forgive, and fun to be around, like Rachel McAdams’ character, and it’s just that I’m not her and therefore find it hard to believe. Poor Alan. Also I get rather cranky when very skinny actors who have supposedly just had their second child put on a dress and say, “But this makes me look lumpy!” You want to see lumps, McAdams?! I screech at the television. I’LL SHOW YOU LUMPS! It made me pine for season two of Girls.

And Hope Springs was okay, but I didn’t understand Tommy Lee Jones’ character at all, so I just spent the whole movie wanting to yell at him and give Meryl Streep hugs. And towards the end I thought maybe I’d worked him out but he then did things that didn’t make sense with who he’d been before that, so I just gave up. I did like Steve Carell as the marriage counsellor, but then I’d like Steve Carell as anything, so that wasn’t particularly surprising. Are you still with me? I’m running out of things to review.
Oooh, books! I’ve been reading a bit, too. Having now ploughed my way through three of her novels, I can tell you that I have a bit of a crush on Liane Moriarty (I even sent her a fan letter, so… it’s pretty serious). My favourite was The Last Anniversary. Her writing always makes me laugh, and her characters (most of them, at least) are very likeable, and the stories have just enough intrigue to keep you wanting to stand around and read instead of, say, making your child the toast he’s been politely, and then less politely, asking you for over the last hour or so little while. I enjoyed The Husband’s Secret slightly less than What Alice Forgot and The Last Anniversary, but I still liked it, and I will continue to borrow and devour whatever writing of hers I can get my addicted hands onto. (When I raved to a friend about The Last Anniversary she looked at the cover of the book and said, “Annelise, this looks like chicklit.” I have no idea what chicklit is, but if it’s embarrassing then please just imagine this last paragraph was whispered, and we’ll never speak of it again.)
I also read Can’t We Talk About Something More PLEASANT? by Roz Chast, which I borrowed from the library without really knowing what it was (I’d skim-read a review and reserved it more because I trust the reviewer than because I’d paid any attention to what she’d said about it); I loved this one, too. It’s a memoir in words and drawings about Chast’s elderly parents’ last few years of life, and it’s quite funny and quite sad and incredibly honest, which I always appreciate. Athough it will be many years until my parents are in their 90s (my grandparents still aren’t in their 90s), it answered some questions I didn’t know I had (yes, it may be the case that not everything will feel like it’s been resolved when your parents die; yes, you may therefore still have angry dreams about them after they’re gone, etc.) and brought up questions I guess I’ll have to wait to find out the answer to (Roz is an only child, so it therefore fell to her to make the decisions about her parents’ care; what do you do when you’re one of 9 [on my mum’s side] or one of 4 [on my dad’s]? Do step-children get a say too [that would bump the numbers up to 11 and 8, respectively]? Are there rules about things like this? Do we need to have an idea early, or do we just wait and see who’s still around and what we’re all up to?). Heres a small sample from the book:
from here
So, yeah. You should read it. Op, Hazel’s awake! Better go get her up. Such a pity – I was just about to start studying.


  1. I agree with you about "About Time": I felt like the characters were trying to be three-dimensional but were coming off as two-dimensional. I did like the message about enjoying the life you have in the moment: the advice that dad gives to his son about doing each day twice resonated with me.

  2. That Girls show sounds exciting. I've been wishing for "normal" tv and characters and stories for a few years now!

    Also that's cool you've discovered Liane Moriarty. Her sister (Jacqueline) is also an author and I think I read every single one of her books about 5 years ago: Most were aimed at high schoolers, but there were a few for adults which I also enjoyed :P I'll have to check her out.

    Anyway. Go study :P

  3. Ha. My chicklit comment was surprised but I still have that book on my to read list because I actually do trust you on this. I'll just have to get over my book snobbishness.

  4. I love chick lit. love it. it's all I read. and about time is one of my favourite movies. ever. it makes me weep. every time. and I find girls really hard to watch. I don't like it. we have nothing in common.

    1. This made me laugh. We have *some* things in common...