Fangirl Friday, Feb. 16, 2018

Podcast of the Week

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My latest podcast obsession has been a podcast I’ve been waiting for for a while, since I heard it was coming out. Crooked Media has been a big part of my life for the past year, despite not being an American, and let me tell you, when I heard they were coming out with a pop culture roundtable with Ira Madison III as host, I was hooked before I even heard the first episode. Each episode is full of quips, barbs and chants of “Keep it”, Madison’s catchphrase, which denotes a person/place/thing that we are no longer here for. It's my Wednesday morning treat, the perfect way to get out of bed, knowing that someone is talking about the importance of the Kim Cattrall/Sarah Jessica Parker feud, the value of Timothée Chalamet's denouncement of Woody Allen, and Catherine Deneuve being... Catherine Deneuve. Don't sleep on this pod.

Movie of the Week

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In my efforts to see all Oscar-nominated films before the Oscars on March 4, I watched quite a few this week, including "Icarus," "A Fantastic Woman," "The Post," and "The Darkest Hour". What left the biggest impression on me, however, was Christopher Nolan's war epic, "Dunkirk". I admit, I was a bit of a snob about this one, not viewing it as anything worth seeing in theatres and boy am I regretting that snobbery. By far one of the most visually stimulating films I've seen in a long time, "Dunkirk" held me tight from the first shot of pamphlets falling to the ground to the final shot of a freed soldier, and didn't let me go. Nolan plays with time in innovative ways, telling the story from three perspectives, and the way those perspectives intertwine is inspired. The film is meant to be seen on an IMAX screen, but still looked unbelievable on rinky-dink TV. Also... Harry Styles bangs in it. Like... he's astoundingly good. My good, good boy is growing up. I didn't think I'd see another nominated film that touched me like "Call Me By Your Name," "Lady Bird" or "Phantom Thread" but I was gratefully surprised.

TV Show of the Week

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This show. I don't even know where to start. I've seen two seasons of it in two days. That's unhealthy. And yet, I can't stop. It's so bad. But it's so good. And I hate everyone. But I love them all. They're so abhorrent. But I get why they did that. And all I want to do is watch more of it immediately. There's a definite schadenfreude I get out of watching bad people behaving badly, and that is at a prime in this show and I'm living for it.

Song of the Week

This song is sexy af. I could listen to it all day. It's got a great beat, it's danceable, and that's literally all I have to say about it. 

Zine of the Week

I found out about "Little White Lies", the film zine, through Tavi Gevinson's instagram, and now I've got myself a hard copy of the "Call Me By Your Name" issue and have now subscribed to the digital version. It dives deep into the process of filmmaking from all aspects, from the director, to the screenwriter, to the actors, and everyone in between. Each magazine is filled with incredible artwork, making you want to poster your walls with each page. It only comes out once a month, but each issue is dense and stuffed with goodies, enough to tide you over until the next one. 

I'm Back

I seem to have a resurgence in wanting to write every so often. It comes in waves. I get very excited about all the things I want to write about, how I'm going to write every day and then... nothing happens. And I've written about that too. *insert GIF of Peyton Sawyer literally breaking a record*

Anyhoo, I've set up a bunch of posts from today up until March 4, which is when the 2018 Oscars will air. I'm going to a live screening of the Oscars at Hot Docs, something I am DEEPLY looking forward to, for many reasons, but a predominant one is that it is free to attend. My plan for the next few weeks leading up until then is to take in as many Oscar nominated films as I can (right now, I have 3 Best Picture nominees still yet to watch, many documentaries and almost all the foreign films... we'll see how well I do).

My plan today was to watch "The Post" and "The Darkest Hour", however I believe my computer shut off before the files successfully transferred into my Dropbox so I may be SOL. I am contemplating checking out "Last Men in Aleppo" because it's on Netflix. Seems like good morning fodder. (WRITER'S NOTE: I tried to watch it, got about 10 minutes in, and couldn't take it. It was too upsetting. Don't know if I'll be able to go back to it.)

Thursday I will go to TIFF and see the Live Action Shorts that are nominated. I'm not sure sure if I'll have time to see the other shorts, but I will attempt to see Animated and Documentary if possible. 

I want to re-watch "Lady Bird" and "Phantom Thread". I've seen "Call Me By Your Name" four times already (and will be seeing it a fifth next month, with the screenwriter James Ivory in attendance), have already written a post about "Get Out" last year when it came out, and have just seen "Dunkirk" and "Icarus" yesterday (I am actually in SHOCK at how much I enjoyed "Dunkirk" to the point where I am seriously contemplating buying the Little White Lies issue that is dedicated to it... probably one of the most beautiful films I've seen in a long time... and I've seen "Call Me By Your Name" FOUR DAMN TIMES).

I did enjoy "The Shape of Water" but the further I go from it, the less I care. I have yet to see "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" and am both excited and terrified to watch it, due to the myriad of reviews I've received from friends and the online film community. I've seen "A Fantastic Woman", a film I'm still thinking about days later - the one word that comes to mind when thinking about it is "striking". I haven't seen any of the animated features, which is not on brand for me at all, but I do plan on watching at least "Coco" and "Loving Vincent". I will watch "The Florida Project" as I have heard it was snubbed for Best Picture and I will watch a movie where Willem Dafoe is not a villain. I also desperately want to see "Faces Places" but do not know if I'll be able to catch it in time for the awards ceremony.

We'll see where this journey will take me. After all this planning, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to follow through...

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See you tomorrow!

What's Getting Me Through

So this website has turned into a place where I post once every four months which sucks for me because I spend money on it and I want it to be more than a domain that I upkeep. I feel like I go through this every time when I realize it's been forever since I've written. I'm currently working three jobs, working out 4-5 times a week and attempting to have a bit of a social life (really, I could be seeing more people, I spend a ton of time by myself). When I do have days to myself, I hate how I spend my time. It's fruitless and useless. I could be writing, or engaging with the world in some productive way. I could be figuring out ways to make more money. I could stop feeling sorry for myself.

Sometimes I feel like I put too much pressure on myself and other times I'm not putting enough. It's tough sometimes living by myself, because I have to be the one to hold myself accountable for everything. It's freeing and at the same time, deeply distressing.

Anyway, all this to say that there are a few things lately that are making me very happy, pop culture-wise, and if I ever wanted to view these entries at anything approaching a diary, I sure as hell want to keep track of the good things too, and not just my usual bitching and complaining.  

Star Trek: The Next Generation and two podcasts dedicated to it: The Greatest Generation and Star Trek: The Next Conversation

Star Trek: The Next Generation and two podcasts dedicated to it: The Greatest Generation and Star Trek: The Next Conversation

Big Little Lies and its soundtrack

Big Little Lies and its soundtrack

The Flop House

The Flop House

Living Big in Japan

I've been struggling to put my trip to Japan (Oct. 8-Oct. 16, 2016) into words. I know the longer I go without writing about, the more I will begin to forget and lose about the trip. For my entire writing career, I've found it difficult to write when I want to, and I constantly feel like I'm letting myself (and now my writing partner) down, because I can't seem to get it together to get things in on time. Like the procrastinator that I am, my mind tells me that tomorrow everything will get done, because tomorrow will be a good day where I'm excited to write, but tomorrow turns into today and the cycle repeats. I've had to force myself to sit down at my table, put on human clothes, pour myself a cool glass of tea and just start. 

When my dad said he wanted to go to Japan and asked if I wanted to go with him, I honestly wasn't too excited. Japan was far. Japan seemed overwhelming. I wasn't into manga, anime or zen, and we have good Japanese food in Toronto, so why take a 13 hour flight to get it made "authentically?" However, I hadn't been on vacation in over 3 and a half years and I was in dire need of a break from work and life. This was an adventure, and I needed an adventure so I said yes, half-heartedly. What a brat. 

As the trip drew closer, I started to feel nervous. We were going to Tokyo, the most populous city ON THE PLANET. I get panic attacks in slightly crowded malls, how was I going to handle this? We were also going to a place where the national language could not be further from English. Despite being assured by my dad that everyone there would speak English (uh... no... they don't. As well they shouldn't.), I was sure everything would be lost in translation. Would we be respectful enough? What if we got lost? What if I didn't like it there?

After a restless flight where my knee seized up multiple times and I slept for all of 20 seconds, we arrived at Narita airport. I braced myself for the crowds that were sure to envelop us when we emerged from the plane. Instead it was... quiet? There was no one there. Okay, okay, when we get out, we'll be swarmed by people and we'll lose each other in the sea of locals and drift away... except that didn't happen either. We boarded our train, then subway, and got to the neighbourhood where our first AirBnB was located, all without incident. Yes, there were people, but everyone kept to themselves. Everyone gave everyone space and no one was squashed or thrown violently into a train (yes... we heard that people do this. In no way, shape or form is this true). 

We got a bit lost getting to our AirBnB from the subway station and asked some locals for help. Immediately, anyone we asked whipped out a phone to Google our situation. No one looked at us like we were weird, or stupid, and all tried to help. We made it to our little home and headed straight out again (despite our immense fatigue) in search of food. We turned one corner and found ourselves at a pizzeria. As sacrilegious as it felt to have our first real Japanese meal in Japan be Italian, we were too zonked to try anywhere else so we settled ourselves in there. I had probably the best pizza I've ever had there. 

I'm not going to detail the rest of the trip as minutely, but to suffice it to say, I have two big regrets. One is that I wish I hadn't been so prepared. And two, I wish I had been more prepared. I was so sure I knew what the scene was going to be, and I couldn't have been more wrong. I readied myself for chaos and I found nothing of the sort. I wish I had been more prepared in the sense of learning Japanese phrases (we felt like real assholes making everyone we came across struggle with us in English), reading some manga and watching some anime, and learning more about shrine etiquette. The stories in my head were only that, stories. The reality was so much more than I could have ever anticipated.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about my trip, now a week on. I'm constantly dreaming about it, I wake up in the middle of the night, not knowing where I am, thinking I'm still in Osaka, ready to go on another 13 hour walk through the city, I put on Apple Music J-Pop playlists to carry me through rough patches of the day, I flip through my Japanese version of Spark Joy by Marie Kondo, not understanding a word but enjoying the knowledge that one day I may learn the language, I think about kneeling in front of a statue of Buddha and for the first time in a long time, understanding a sense of religiosity and peace, I miss sleeping on Tatami mats and the smell of the bamboo, I long for toilets with bidets, I yearn for a transit system THAT WORKS, I relish the memory of walking through book store after book store, feeling one step removed, but feeling so excited to be there, I miss the food, GOD THE FOOD, probably the best food I've ever eaten anywhere, and the people, so lovely, so helpful, so considerate to two foolish tourists wandering around in puffy Uniqlo vests, trying to understand a country and its culture in 8 days.

It was a trip of a lifetime. I can't quite grasp how much it affected me. I didn't expect it. Never could I have imagined I needed this adventure as much as I did. I feel like I only just scratched the surface of a completely new universe and I'm clinging by my fingertips, 13 hours in the past, to stay in it.