Minding the Gap + Betty

Minding the Gap is a 93 minute documentary

Betty is a two season TV-show, 12 episodes of 30 minutes

And both of them involve skating, why I combined the two. Minding the Gap is a sober documentary about life in a small town with an even smaller amount of possibilities to get out of the rut your ancestors created for you. The documentary maker returns after a time and goes looking for all his (skater) friends. Not all of them got out – mentally and physically.

This might all sound terribly depressing and it’s definitely not a fun, cool watch, but director Bing Liu manages to make you feel for these strangers like it’s your own set of friends.

Betty keeps things (most of the time) a lot more lighthearted. It’s based in reality with the skateboarders having been plucked from the street and allowed input to stories (according to the credits), but HBO puts a very cool, glamorous, quick-living sheen over it. It’s a group of diverse female teens in New York that skate. There are a few (teen-related) problems, but mostly it’s just cruising: little goes permanently wrong.

That also turns it into brightly coloured wallpaper pretty quickly. Or maybe I’m just too old and not cool enough.

Either way, I still want to get a skateboard and try my hardest to master it now.

Mismatched

6 x 35 min.

Can’t remember the last time I so enjoyed a YA romance, on telly or otherwise. I think that this would have had another To All The Boys-hype level if the majority of it wouldn’t have been in another language than English (I think it’s Hindi).

It has plenty of tropes, plenty of tempo and a tight grip on the plot. I don’t know the original material – YA novel When Dimple meets Rishi – so I can’t compare, but the series delivers everything you might need from a YA romance. Rishi is a romantic, Dimple wants to break free.. side characters that carry their clichés in an honest way, and a surroundings that makes you wish that there’d be a temporary ban on the UK and USA high school as decor.

It’s a slice of teenage life but with amped up volume and technicolour added. And for the romance part: you might not even straight-away know who she ends up with! There’s even replay value! So, I hope for two things: a sequel, and that more people will watch it so we can discuss.

Best of 2020

It’s that time of the year.

What did I read and watch in 2020 and was any of it worthy of my time? Looking back.. yes, of course. It’s what you make of it. The year started slowly when it came to good, satisfying books, but in the end I still had to make cuts to end with five I’d definitely recommend to any curious reader.

Aria,, The Animators,, Conversations of Shadows,, Moord op de moestuin,, Notes from a Young Black Chef

TV, then? The one I keep telling myself I have to review more often? I did.. ten, this year. I’m not even going to check if that’s more or less (I’m doing that in a minute).

Castlevania,, Feel Good,, Giri/Haji,, Russian Doll,, Queen Sugar

With film I’m pleased to see that I (subconsciously?) went for pictures that had a (heavy) female cast and that my taste continues to be all over the place. See also: recently watched. I watched and reviewed some good films this year.

Bumblebee,, Colossal,, Edge of Seventeen,, De laatste dagen van Emma Blank,, Dirty God,, Rafiki,, Wolf

Sometimes I’m bored of this blog and thinking about how to put something down in writing that hasn’t been done a gazillion times before. Other times it’s almost like letting a sore bleed: a relief and others can deal with the mess. Hello, 2021!

Little Sister

As if Netflix doesn’t offer you enough yet, there’s other streaming options out there (duh). Through my library (thanks, Ottawa!) I can use Kanopy, where I found Little Sister.

The thing I might like most about this film is that it shows that there can be insights without huge changes following. Sometimes we just need to improve what we’re doing, instead of do something else.

Colleen is a young (future) nun, her brother is an ex-soldier who got hurt in the Iraqi war, her mother survived a suicide attempt; good luck keeping this family together. The father and the girlfriend of the brother try, especially when the brother is released from the hospital. Colleen is invited to welcome him home; her brother just isn’t very welcoming.

The summary calls this film a dark comedy and for once I don’t feel like fighting when a media product calls itself comedy. Because this is funny, in regular and awkward and sad ways.

A third point in their favour is that it’s not very long, and/but still feels complete.

This being ‘indie’ might make it harder to find, but consider a Kanopy subscription, or other ways for an original comedy that is definitely dark (and not just because of the hair dye used).

2019

Last year I made quite a pretty post about the year. This year I’ll … make an attempt.

According to Goodreads I read 75 books; according to my own list I’m on 83 – I don’t review every book but I also like to pace my reviews. I read a lot for school this year as well.

Best book read in 2019? Fictional it’s Het achtste leven (voor Brilka), no doubt. I didn’t read as much as non-fiction as I would have liked; maybe something to turn into a resolution. For 2019 it’s definitely The Woo-Woo, even though I’m always weary about memoirs. Growth!

I reviewed 35 films, I’m sure I watched many more because of Pathé Unlimited and home-work travel. Best of the ones reviewed? Parasite, Roma, Sweet Bean, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and The Favourite.

Then, to telly. I’ve reviewed ten (Netflix)shows, if you include some documentaries. Netflix will probably be an independent category soon. Most impressive documentary/non-series? Hannah Gadsby: Nanette. How comedy can hurt and educate, wow.
Rather stick to binge-able fiction? Derry Girls. Plenty of nineties nostalgia with a sprinkling of Irish history and teen girl madness. Delicious.

So, for 2020? 2019 was a pretty good year in books read: of the 83 I can remember the majority and I didn’t quit on too many of them. To be honest: all of this looks pretty good to me, so I’m just going to keep carrying on. Carry on.

 

So this is …

Christmas, and I hope you ha- oh wait, too late for that. So this was 2018, and what have I done?

I read 82 books, seven of those having been published in 2018 (I want to thank CloudLibrary and Ottawa Library for making these accessible so quickly). And I started and finished a series: The Dark Tower. Best of 2018? First title that pops up is Pachinko, but also Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I read pretty diversely again this year, and continue to try to solely pick female authors.

From the  33 movies I reviewed, twelve were from this year (thanks, Pathé Unlimited pass), and seven were to be found on Netflix. I definitely feel like I watched better movies at the beginning of the year, and the majority of the reviewed ones are more ‘independent’ than blockbuster as well. So if those are your thing, scroll a bit.

I only reviewed eight TV shows, even though those usually get the most hits, so there’s a new year’s resolution for ye. Of those reviewed I’d absolutely recommend Happy Valley.

For the blog I hope to keep up my weekly posts, and maybe hit a record number of followers. Threehunderd? I should first check how many I’ve got. Either way, have a wonderful 2019 full of reading and watching!

 

600

Six hundred published posts, that is. And I don’t even make a post about anything I read or watch. Damn. Anyway, on to the next 600 (if only I had a follower for every post I made)!

Best of 2017

books
A Gentleman in Moscow // A Wrinkle in Time // Consider the fork // De bijen // De onbekenden // De verlossing van Liesbeth Bede // De zoetzure smaak van dromen // Dogma // Een verhaal met een angel // En de akker is de wereld // De Cirkel (Engelfors) // Het huis achter de wilgen // Homegoing // In Order to Live (om te leren) // Lair of Dreams // New Grub Street // Remarkable Creatures // The Marriage of Opposites // The Shore // The Unseen World

And I did a readathon, and want to do it again this year!

film
De Surprise // Divines // Hidden Figures // Miss India America // Miss Sloane // Moonlight // To Wong Foo, thanks for everything! Julie Newmar

television
13th // Dear White People // The Good Place // Wynonna Earp

I watch plenty of movies and television, but want to start reviewing it more this year. Hello, 2018