What I Watched, What You Watched #140

Happy Christmas week! I hope you’ve all had pleasant weekends with your families – or if not, then a prosperous week at the theaters! I for one saw four new releases, which I’ll be breaking down in the next paragraph.

Obviously the highest profile films I saw last week were Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Cats. If you read my review of Star Wars, you already know I had a rather mixed reaction to it. Looking back, I’ve realized that the more great things I hear people mention, the more I like it, and the more I hear people criticizing its many, many issues, the more I dislike it. It’s a very weird position to be in, and I’ll probably revisit it just as much as I do Revenge of the Sith going forward. As for Cats, you’ve already seen my review this morning, and know that Cats is my big dumb hilarious nonsense baby. It may be one of my favorite terrible films of all time. It must be seen by all – there is no other film I’ve watched this month that I care about to this degree. I also had a chance to catch up with Golden Globe and SAG nominee Harriet. I’ll probably not get a chance to review this one, so here are my thoughts: for the first twenty minutes, it’s kind of rough. Much of this has to do with the traditional biopic format, but it also has to do with the film’s adherence to every slave drama setup we’ve seen. It could be a deleted scene from 12 Years A Slave for all we know. However, once Harriet runs away, and Cynthia Erivo’s character develops agency, the film takes off – Kasi Lemmons finds her voice, the cast comes into their own, and when you realize that this is really the first time we’ve been granted an Underground Railroad film, it quickly takes off. It’s a wonderful film if you can make it past the first twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy is every bit as wonderful as you’ve heard. I’m going to be vague in case I have a chance to review it, but Noah Jupe and Shia LaBeouf are incredible, and the film is emotionally, a powerhouse. My family has also neared the end of the Marvel marathon, as we’ve finally reached Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. Marvel was a bit of a bust, as the choppy narrative and the deliberately strange arc for Larson’s Danvers put them off (they both enjoyed her performance and rapport with Samuel L. Jackson). Meanwhile, my brother was home for Endgame, a film he has ranted against for several months, and I am pleased to report that despite his best efforts, he enjoyed the world-dominating hit film. Both parents were warm on the film as well, with both placing it in their Top Ten of what we’ve watched. With one film left, it’ll be exciting to see this series come to an end.

My television viewing was pretty much dominated by three shows – and what shows they are. I was a bit behind on Saturday Night Live, so I finished up the Scarlett Johansson episode. Honestly, I was a little disappointed – Johansson is normally a great host, so her disappointing turn here was a bit of a letdown. Of course, it doesn’t help that she was followed by Eddie Murphy. I’m a classic SNL fan, so I was definitely onboard with Murphy’s return from the jump. However, I wasn’t expecting it to be that impressive – from the callbacks to new sketches to Lizzo, everything about the episode was top notch. It’s one of the best TV episodes of the year. Meanwhile, I’m still working my way through Unbelievable, which gets better and better as the season goes along (thanks in large part to Wever and Collette’s chemistry). And I’ve finished 2019’s episodes of Rick and Morty, which stood as some of the show’s funniest between the dragon and snake episodes. It’s such a good show, and like Star Wars, my only regret is how many dumb toxic people are ruining it for people. Oh, and as we approach Christmas, I’m working my way through my favorite specials, meaning a showing of Frosty the Snowman this past weekend. It’s easily the simplest and least flashy of the bunch, but there’s something sweet about that simplicity. It’s like breaking up a Pixar marathon with Winnie the Pooh – it’s a nice palette cleanser.

That wraps up this week’s What I Watched, What You Watched! I’ll see you all next week with some thoughts on the films I’ve watched this year, and hopefully will have a series of new reviews for you all in my quest for 50. We’ll find out soon enough, and in the meantime, let me know in the comments what you’ve been watching, as well as what you think about the shows that I’ve been watching. See you all soon, and have yourself a merry little Christmas!

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