Ariana’s Favorite Films of 2021

I hadn’t reviewed as many movies on this blog as Seth has. Also, if this list intermixes with his, we watch a lot of films together. I will choose a few others to show just how cool I am.

Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World
Directed by Adam Curtis

Adam Curtis is like the Ken Burns of the emotional state of the Western World. There is a particular stomach-turning sensation when watching Adam Curtis’s films. You’re quietly begging for him to perhaps deliver some good news only for him to carve in deeper into the history to remind you just how insane it is. Not a lighthearted watch. You can watch it all here right now.

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Ariana’s Favorite Books of 2021

If I am candid, I am surprised about the number of books I read this year—a total of 32, just two more than my goal. Somewhere either Seth or big book nerds are scoffing at my number.

I would give excuses as the why the number isn’t grander, but honestly, I am surprised I can still form together words and sentences. Paragraphs are questionable at best.

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TV Review-Pen15 Season 2 Part 2

Pen15 Season 2 Part 2 (Hulu)
Written by Maya Erskine, Gabe Liedman, Rachele Lynn, Diana Tay, Alyssa DiMari, Josh Levine, Anna Konkle, and Vera Santamaria
Directed by Dan Longino, Maya Erskine, Andy DeYoung, and Anna Konkle

As Pen15 has wrapped up its last season, it’s bittersweet to acknowledge no new episodes will grace our screens. There have been comparisons to it, Wonder Years, Freaks and Geeks, but Pen15 stands on its own considering its presentation.

The other two are almost male-focused. Although Freaks and Geeks has its cult following and Lindsey Weir (Linda Cardellini) is the so-called lead, most of the cast is male. There is barely any mention of female friendships, the drama of being a teenager, and having someone on your side before and during those changes. Lindsey was breaking away from her friends, lingering and then becoming part of the ‘stoner’/freak crowd.

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TV Review – Tuca & Bertie Season 1

Tuca & Bertie Season 1 (Netflix)
Written by Lisa Hanawalt, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Lee Sung Jin, Rachelle Williams, Nick Adams, Karen Graci, Gonzalo Cordova, Shauna McGarry
Directed by Amy Winfrey, Aaron Long, Mollie Helms, James Bowman, Adam Parton

At first glance, Tuca & Bertie looks like an Adult Swim reject show that was influenced by the style of Bojack Horseman. The first two episodes were challenging for me to get into as they settled me into their universe. Tuca (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) is outgoing, loud, hard to focus, while Bertie (voiced by Ali Wong) is the more cautious, anxious, soft-hearted of the two. It’s the story of two best friends who are adjusting to the changes in their lives.
Bertie moved in with her boyfriend Speckle (voiced by Steven Yeun) in the same apartment complex and used to room with Tuca. Thanks to the default narrative, the immediate thought that crosses your mind is that Tuca will get in a lot of trouble, and Bertie will have to explain or tag along. Sort of a Sarah Silverman Show scenario.

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TV Review – I May Destroy You

I May Destroy You (2020)
Written & Directed by Michaela Coel

I had a hard time finishing this series. It’s a heartbreaking mini-series written by Michaela Coel, who should’ve gotten all the praise but was snubbed for any Emmys when it was released in 2020.

The title of the show questions who it is that Arabella (Michaela Cole) might destroy. Will she destroy her friends? Her enemies? Her career? Herself?

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Patron Pick – Baraka

This is a special reward available to Patreon patrons who pledge at the $10 or $20 a month levels. Each month those patrons will get to pick a film for me to review. They also get to include some of their own thoughts about the movie, if they choose. This Pick comes from Matt Harris.

Baraka (1992)
Written by Constantine Nicholas and Genevieve Nicholas
Directed by Ron Fricke

When Seth told me that his brother had selected a movie to be reviewed, I wasn’t surprised. The shocker came that he had chosen me to do it, and as the title was given, for a brief moment, I thought my brother-in-law was forcing me to watch a movie about Barack Obama because he wanted to test me.

Luckily, I was wrong, but still, a little perplexed as Seth further explained it to me. I am not a cinephile. I’m just a woman who likes what she likes.

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Movie Review – Sweet Girl

Sweet Girl (2021)
Written by Philip Eisner & Gregg Hurwitz
Directed by Brian Andrew Mendoza

Netflix original movies/shows can be hit or miss. There are times when their movies feel like the thing you settled for when you rent something. You’re left with the subpar version of what you wanted. You stare at the title, think you’ve seen the trailer, but everything is a blur as things melt one into the other. All titles are similar, the colors, nothing bright or new.

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Movie Review – Gunpowder Milkshake

Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)
Written by Navot Papushado & Ehud Lavski
Directed by Navot Papushado

Seth and I don’t always agree on things, as shocking as that might seem. When I first saw Gunpowder Milkshake’s trailer, I could feel the intrigue bubbling within my system, almost dashed to bits and pieces as my husband went, “Ew, no.” (Ed. note: I have literally zero memory of ever seeing this trailer)

Let’s not fault the man; he did not grow up watching martial arts/action movies. Unlike my husband, raised in a Christain household, my single mom tended to let us rent movies at will. If those movies didn’t even up being the regular popular picks, they managed to be action movies many times.

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TV Review – Work in Progress Season 1

Work in Progress Season 1 (Showtime)
Written by Abby McEnany & Tim Mason & Lilly Wachowski
Directed by Tim Mason

Work in Progress is a show that is made with love and thought. At first glance, someone might assume it is the queer response to Curb Your Enthusiasm, but it isn’t.

Abby McEnany brings to us on screen a heavy, queer representation onto television that is much needed. Abby writes alongside her writing partner Tim Mason, and she stares in it too.

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Movie Review – 13 Going on 30

13 Going On 30 (2004)
Written by Cathy Yuspa & Josh Goldsmith
Directed by Gary Winick

There are movies with trailers that are locked in my mind being films I never got to watch for some reason or another. Being the youngest sibling or sometimes the odd person out, I missed out on movies.

Or maybe I thought the moment I had a chance to view it, I was too cool for it. Let it be known. I will be removing all sense of coolness.

13 Going on 30 was one of those movies for me. I just assumed it would be a female version of Big or other movies where a teenager wishes to be flirty and thirty.

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