What We’re Watching:December


Here’s the media that’s getting us through THE HOLIDAYS. 

By The Film TEam


12.8.2021

The sun has started setting at 4:30, it’s 40º outside and, no, now it’s 60º, no, back to 40º, but now it’s raining. Here’s what we’ve been watching amidst this turbulent seasonal confusion.

Lizzie watched...


Insecure




Just such a rare and brilliant show!! I’m blown away by the depiction of Issa and Molly’s friendship, with its moments of intertwined love and injury and awkwardness and familiarity. It’s one of the most honest portrayals of adult friendship that I’ve seen on screen and, alongside the show’s sharp sense of humor and perspective, it makes for some moving television. On top of that, the soundtrack, wardrobe, writing, and direction are all impeccable and it’s been so beautiful to watch it evolve through this last season.

555



I turn to John Early and Kate Berlant whenever I need a gPoog! Search Party! This video! And this one!). In 555, their 2017 web series, they take us to a surreal dreamscape version of Hollywood in which their characters fight tooth and nail to reconcile their dreams with reality. It’s scored with jazzy muzak and filled with idiosyncratic dreamers trying to make it in the biz with a sincerity I almost admire. I don’t know how to choose a favorite episode, but the desperate aliens of Episode 4 and deranged agents of Episode 5 are up there.

Natalie watched...


Girls




In the words of Michaela Coel, I turned to Girls to "browse through the lives of others to help [me] better determine how [I] feel about [myself]." In the beginning, I was watching selfishly, tuning in to see glimmers that my post-grad life was heading in a better direction than these four fictional girls who I had heard were terrible people. I didn't expect to find myself caring for these characters and rooting for them to find the best version of themselves. And yes, sometimes this show takes itself far too seriously and I can't help laughing out loud, but it's also been an immense comfort to see people be messy and complicated and still deserving of love. It will indeed be the end of an era for me once I finish Girls. I feel like we've grown together and it will be tough to say goodbye.

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar




Usually, I find Batman trilogy, one punchy poster with pinks and yellows stood out against the rest: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Even while snacking on sad airplane pretzels, Barb and Star managed to make me crack a smile. It's an over-the-top, campy-yet-heartwarming rom-com/spy thriller/sometimes musical made successful by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo's talent as writers and character actors. Perfectly timed cuts (fu-CHOO) and zany musical numbers (Jamie Dornan prancing in the sand) helped me escape my mundane surroundings and actually enjoy 1.5 hours of my flight. Simply put, the world is a brighter place with Barb and Star in it.

Sydney watched...


The Good Place




It’s that time of the year when I’m in desperate need of a comfort watch, and The Good Place scratches that itch. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m nostalgic for the period of my life when the show was on air and I relentlessly binged it, but I digress. The whimsical set design, the wacky yet fully-realized characters, the clever censoring of curse words—I’m here for all of it. I love the wholesome message sandwiched between jokes at Florida’s expense. It’s hard to believe that an ensemble comedy about moral philosophy is funny, but goddamn it, it really is.


Eighth Grade




I’m late to the game, seeing as this film was released in 2018. I think I avoided it because I knew it would hit a little too close to home, and well, I was right. Along with PEN15, Eighth Grade is the closest media depiction of my middle school experience. As a millennial cisgender man, writer/director Bo Burnham somehow manages to perfectly encapsulate the life of a Gen Z teenage girl. He centers the narrative around the idea of performance-induced anxiety, something he’s intimately acquainted with. And although protagonist Kayla isn’t a public figure or stand-up comedian like Burnham, her act is the persona she assumes to impress her peers. Middle school is hard enough as it is, but with the added pressures of social media, teens of the digital age barely stand a chance. The film goes hand-in-hand with Burnham’s following project, Inside. If you enjoyed the comedy special, Eighth Grade is definitely worth the watch.
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