I’ll never forget an English professor quoting Ecclesiastes regarding the subject of unoriginal ideas in content: “there is nothing new under the sun.” Now and then, I think of this biblical quote taken out of context, especially when considering my own writing. Humans might have the gift of being uniquely ourselves, but we’re hard-pressed to make unprecedented art.
Whenever classic stories are rebooted for a modern audience, this news often generates a few eye rolls from the jaded, overindulged consumers of entertainment. After all, is a Friends reunion really necessary? How manySpider-Man movies do we really need?
Which is to say, I recently watched Little Women (2019), Greta Gerwig’s 21st-century answer to the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott. So presents the age-old question, did we as a collective society, need a new Little Women? Perhaps not, but we got one anyway.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
Eccl 1:9, NIV
I, for one, am grateful. The film has some misses, but all around I believe it’s an exceptional take on this story. Aside from the obvious – a jumbled timeline – the modern twists in Little Women (2019) are nuanced. Despite subtlety, the movie’s changes are unmistakably influenced by the era we live in today.
It’s a treat to see this story told from a fresh perspective. We get all the heart of Louisa May Alcott’s original work updated with a respectful nod to the author herself. So what if there isn’t anything “new” under the sun of the tale that is Little Women? What’s been done will be done again. And I can’t wait to see how the next recycled version ends up.
Writing my second recap in mere days, *Carrie Bradshaw voice* I couldn’t help but wonder… are monthly recaps the only type of writing I’m capable of?
I know I can write actual articles and essays, but I haven’t flexed that particular writing muscle in quite some time. Part of it is that I am too lazy to think of creative ideas, and the other part is that I’m too lazy to write them out once I do think of something. Maybe a self-imposed writing challenge is in my future? Who knows.
Whatever writing may come, for now, you’re stuck reading the latest issue of Popgirl. This one is 2+ months in the making, so buckle up.
As sweet and satisfying as a boba drink.
Art Museums Spending a few hours enjoying the work of extremely talented humans? Can’t imagine a better afternoon. I’ve visited three separate art museums in the last month alone, all of which were either free or less than $5 for entry. (Thank you, Asia). So, this is my PSA to check out an art exhibit sometime soon. It’s good for the soul.
The 2019 NBA Finals
Once upon a time, I was really into watching Lilly Singh (you know, the only woman hosting a late-night talk show on network TV) and her daily vlogs. As part of that venture, I learned many things, from the right way to pronounce “Toronto” to why the color of your towels is important. Most of all, I learned about the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are the scrappiest team in the NBA, from my vantage point. They represent not just Toronto, but the entire country of Canada. They have been a team for over 20 years but it wasn’t until this year that they finally advanced from the playoffs into the finals. The six games they played against the Golden State Warriors were all equally stressful and exciting. I’m not usually a big sportsball person – you may recall my Superbowl experience this year – but I’ll always love basketball. And it was immensely gratifying to watch a team with a lot of heart and skill win the NBA Finals. #WeTheNorth 🙂
Picnics You know what’s not overrated? Eating food outside in a scenic setting. I almost can’t believe* I lived nearby the BeltLine for so long and never once thought to order a pizza and just hang out there. Since moving to Korea, I’ve picnicked by the Han River twice now. It has been such a treat to rediscover the simple pleasures a picnic can provide. *Okay, I can believe it. But my indoor kid tendencies really betrayed me in this instance.
What I watched Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella (2015). Honestly, I am not sure why I didn’t see this movie sooner. Unlike other Disney remakes we’ve seen recently, Cinderella goes the road less traveled by its unimaginative counterparts. The writing is lovely, the costume department shines, and Lily James is a phenomenal Cinderella. The overall message of the movie is every bit as beautiful as the costumes: Have courage and be kind. Good Omens (Miniseries) – before jumping into this, I was a skeptic. After all, the miniseries is based on the hilarious and compelling novel of the same name by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. But they did it justice, y’all. As a lapsed Whovian, I delighted in David Tennant’s appearance on principle, but quickly found that he and Martin Sheen were ideal scene partners as Crowley and Aziraphale. I was so pleased to see my doubts were unfounded, the performance and writing in each episode is top-notch. Oh captain, my captain. Shortly before leaving the States, I traipsed to my local dollar theater to finally watch Captain Marvel(2019) and I can safely say I would like Carol Danvers (read: Brie Larsen) to murder me, thanks. On a real note, this movie completely delivers. I know it’s crazy, but I’d like to see more female-led superhero flicks. Stranger Things (S3) also happened. Look, I love Stranger Kids. It’s a fun show that can simultaneously gross and creep me out while also making me laugh. Was this my favorite season yet? Not quite. But the 80’s summer nostalgia, complete with a shopping mall, was a dream. Fleabag (Series) Hello. Like Taylor Swift and white women everywhere, I too, love Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She is a gift that keeps on giving. The second season of Fleabag is a wonderful example of just how *much* she gives. For in-flight entertainment, may I suggest the pitch-perfect King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)? Guy Ritchie banter just does the heart good. And finally, RuPaul’s Drag Race (S11). Not watching RPDR when it’s airing? To quote Scarlet Envy quoting Julia Roberts: “Big mistake. Huge.” One of the most enjoyable parts of this show is watching other people share their reactions and opinions online. That said, I genuinely liked most of these eleven-gendary queens and was thrilled with this season’s winner.
What I listened to Orla Gartland’s Why Am I Like This? EP.
‘Worlds Apart’ by Joshua Radin. What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress because Colleen Ballinger is currently playing Dawn in the musical Waitress and listening to Sara belt out ‘When He Sees Me’ is my chosen coping mechanism for not being able to see her perform. This playlist, which is full of indie gems that make the perfect background music for any commute. Sing to Me Instead, a gorgeous album from Ben Platt – I especially love ‘Grow As We Go’.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (2019) Full disclosure: This limited series is still ongoing. As it stands currently, I’d rate the show a solid medium. It’s not bad, it’s just not great, either. I can’t decide if the improv from Guz Khan and overall great acting outweigh the mediocre writing for the series. On that note, who’s up for a Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) rewatch?
Not Recasting for the TV Adaptation of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye
Aw, coffee, no. When MCU announced they were adapting Hawkeye into a Disney+ show of the same title, I was thrilled. However, my delight over Fraction and Aja’s well-deserved recognition was soured when I realized Jeremy Renner would still be portraying Hawkeye. You only have to read one panel of Hawkeye to see that Renner’s characterization is nothing like the lovable idiot in the comics. Also, Max Riemelt is right there.
Pop of the Month
“For an artist, art is what happens when you let your bizarre, unbidden, unpredictable life steer you into creating things that you weren’t expecting to make.”
I stumbled upon this Amanda Palmer quote (thanks again to the thoughtfully curated Brain Pickings newsletter, this one featuring Palmer on “making art when life unmakes you.”) The entire article is worth the read if you have the time. Palmer’s quote struck me because I read it as I was riding the train into Seoul one day, a fresh American transplant exploring a new city. My life is currently even more bizarre and unpredictable by choice, so I can only imagine the weird and wonderful things I’ll create in this time. What will you make?
Big Brother (S19E34)
This episode was like a sweet reward for all of the idiotic nonsense I’ve endured from the cast of BB19. When Josh potentially blew up Paul‘s game, I was THRIVING.
Better Things (S1)
For me, Better Things was a unique, beautiful snapshot of women in various stages of life. At the helm is Pamela Adlon – a sharp, hilarious force of nature. Not only did she co-create the show, but she’s one of the primary writers and even directed a few episodes. It’s clear that she funneled a lot of herself into this show. Looking forward to more!
Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig (EP117)
This is one of my all-time favorite podcasts, but I wanted to share this specific episode because Nathan Zed was one of Grace’s most recent guests. I thought this interview was refreshing and fun. As Grace says, it got good. It got good enough.
What Happened to Monday? (2017)
The old Orphan Black can’t come to the phone right now, ’cause she’s dead and has been replaced by NOOMI RAPACE!
It’ll leave a bad taste in your mouth.
White Gold (S1E1)
This… was… gross. Do better, Netflix.
The Bold Type (S1)
I'll never forget the 10 hopeful hours I spent with #TheBoldType in this political hellscape of a summer. Something special, @FreeformTV.
Hey, I love escapism too! This entire blog is essentially a roundup of all the ways I take a break from my day-to-day existence, after all. But I can’t say I agree with this summary. It was more like 10 hours of wondering if crop tops are actually acceptable workplace attire and why Colin Forrester looks exactly the same 7 years later.
The Bold Type definitely had some high notes. I was found myself cheering when Jacqueline encouraged Sutton to speak up for herself and not let others take credit for her work, and I loved their smart take on the travel ban.
Using a survivor storyline in the show’s finale felt like a lazy effort to end strong, though. It took a series of episodes for us to discover that Jane’s mother died of breast cancer and how that affected Jane in her adult life. On the other hand, in the span of one hour The Bold Type hurried through the journey of two sexual assault survivors.
And it was powerful. I just can’t help but wonder why it was left for a last-minute “big reveal,” when the show had no trouble weaving together other storylines from episode to episode.
I was deciding between “Popgirl” and “WIWTW”. Just let me have this.
Anyway, I’m trying something new. Instead of writing a huge monthly post of all the stuff I’ve watched, read, or listened to, I’ll be posting Popgirl recaps of everything I enjoyed throughout the week.
Hope you like it!
Flavor profile: damn fine content.
In The Flesh (Series Finale)
ThEy FilMeD thE SeASon FiNAle WitHOUt knOWinG ThE sERieS wAS CaNcEllEd!
But 10/10, everyone should watch In The Flesh.
I started Youngerbecause I like to break up my regular TV schedule with a few sitcoms, and also because of my secret Sutton Foster obsession. So far, S2 isn’t holding as strong as S1, and everyone’s hair looks way worse.
My Twitter review: I think I like Younger so much because I too am a 40-something divorcee masquerading as a 26-year-old to work in Marketing.
The Bold Type (S1E1-S1E4) I guess I should create a third category for this one and title it Unsalted – I don’t really have a huge opinion on the show yet. But listen. I loved Sweet/Vicious. I’ll take every little bit of Aisha Dee I can get.
You EP by dodie It’s beautiful and I can’t wait for her to have a full album. “Would You Be So Kind” is my favorite track! Listen:
Only weirdos like this stuff.
Big Brother (S19) Last year I caught the very end of BB18, so this summer I decided to watch it from the beginning. I have suffered greatly. With only one truly likeable houseguest left, the high point of this week’s episodes occurred when Matt was finally evicted.
Look What You Made Me Do by Taylor Swift ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I’m forcing myself to write this now, while the subject remains semi-relevant. This past month was so full and chaotic, but in a nice “my life needs a little more balance, but it’s kinda great” sort of way. So. March. I challenged myself to write more blogs, drove to NC for a weekend visit with the twinster, and acquired a new job. These are all things I’ve blogged about, however briefly. Here’s a few things I haven’t:
ENTERTAINMENT Can you believe the broad nature of that title… entertainment? My packed days didn’t really afford much time for new cinematic or literary discoveries. I did peruse Rookie Yearbook Three in a Barnes and Noble for a few hours, aka time well spent. I feel an overwhelming sense of pride and also despair when I think about how successful Tavi Gevinson is. One of the highlights of this edition for me was definitely the Kanye West essay, found here.
I was pleasantly surprised by Rob Thomas’ iZombie- a loose adaption of the comic series by the same name. I’m a huge Veronica Mars fan (check out my blog about the VMars movie here), but I’ve never found the zombie narrative very compelling, and I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the iZombie pilot. Any and all doubts I had were quickly abandoned. Among others, Thomas brought in former co-producer and co-series writer Diane Ruggerio to bring iZombie to life. It’s impossible (for me, anyway) not to compare this show to VMars, but all of the little comparisons I see in each episode truly just make me love it more. Mars was killed far too soon, and I find it so refreshing to witness such a familiar writing structure on my TV screen. Some might say the similarities are tired, unoriginal. But I’d argue it’s fairly difficult for a zombie show to have originality these days, regardless.
This may be technically a February experience, but a huge part of March was dedicated to my continued The Last Five Years appreciation. I’d known about Anna Kendrick’s involvement with the production for months, and downloaded the soundtrack immediately after its release in February. I was totally unfamiliar with the musical itself, and became slightly obsessed once I finally viewed it. I legitimately listened to that soundtrack more than any other album throughout March. Listen to Kendrick perform A Summer in Ohioand you’ll know why. The film is a bit unsure of itself in moments, if anything it just made me wish I could see a live production of the musical.
I also binge-watched all episodes posted (to date) for the webseries The March Family Letters, a Canadian production based on Little Women and affiliated with Pemberley Digital. I’d rate it probably like three grinning cat face emojis.
Early on in 2015, I resolved to be more ambitious with my dining out experiences. I’m fortunate enough to live in a fairly metro area, yet I always seem to eat at the same four places when I do go out. I received guests in the form of my sister Beth (newly 29) and her husband Bob this past weekend, and was happy to try out some different restaurants with them. Cafe Reveille was the perfect Sunday brunch spot, and despite the crowds of people we managed to enjoy our meals (as well as each others’ company) without any real discomfort. I don’t think I’m being too dramatic when I say the Gouda Grits were life changing, and the strawberry and cream crêpe I ordered wasn’t crêppy at all. I can’t wait to return with friends and breakfast aficionados in tow.
Miscellaneous other foods/drinks I tried this month: the restaurant PDQ, meaning People Dedicated to Quality. I didn’t really find the entree items anything worth talking about, but the apple slices and toffee dip were truly to die for. Like, it’s worth the cold fries and strange sauces just for that. I also optimistically ordered Starbucks’ Tiramisu latte and felt something similar to what Michael Bluth felt when he opened the bag in his freezer labelled “DEAD DOVE DO NOT EAT”.
Taylor Swift’s Style begins to play. I don’t know, except I got a nifty hair cut/colordone and I wanted to share that with you. My coworker’s mom does hair and she was very patient with me as I scrolled through multiple photos and offered vague half-descriptions of what I wanted. I couldn’t be happier with the end result! On the subject of ‘style’, this month I thrifted a vintage top with a decorative collar that I have worn constantly and with no abandon. I also was inspired by the sleek simplicity of Daniel Wellington watches and managed to snag a slightly ‘bling-ier’ version at Kohls for a very affordable price. Confession: the cheapness of the watch definitely has translated in certain wear and tear. I’d suggest to any potential watch buyers that this is definitely a purchase you want to splurge on! Find the watch you love and buy it– just trust that a slightly more expensive purchase is worth it in the end.
This turned out to be a wordier blog than I intended, sorry! That’s my March in a pretty big nutshell. APRIL IS SURE TO IMPRESS!