So my peers mostly all have babies and are dull. My flatmates are younger than me and are sickeningly energetic and trendy.
25. While We’re Young (2014)
‘A middle-aged couple’s career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives.‘
I didn’t realise I was watching my third Noah Baumbach film of the month: I should pay more attention to things.
But I think this was my favourite of the three, the most relatable as I get closer to my 40th birthday, despite in my head still thinking I’m 28 (apart from when French Flatmate slams the doors, then I immediate become my 76 year old father).
It perhaps gets a little overwrought towards the end but I liked the overall message that was pretty much ‘we’re all wankers, it doesn’t matter how old you are, so let’s all just crack on with it, shall we?’. 7/10.
Do as I say, not as I do.
You simply must see this.
24. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
‘A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.‘
My options tonight were Heat, which is 9 hours long, or this, which features Oscar-winner Dianne Wiest getting pissed and saying ‘cunting’.
23. Sisters (2015)
‘Two sisters decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home.‘
Heheheh. Dianne Wiest said ‘cunting’. 7/10.
So I’ve been doing Dry January (and smugly banging on like it like a dick, sorry everyone). Most years I attempt it and fail by January 5th. This year however I’ve pretty much sailed through it. I told friends I wasn’t drinking, and more importantly, that I didn’t want to, which has been the key difference. I drank a lot last year, mostly as a reaction to all the shit going on around me, which was/is not a healthy way to deal with things. Only one person has tried tempt me off the wagon so far and when he realised that me not drinking meant more gin for him he piped down.
22. Smashed (2013)
‘A married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of alcohol gets their relationship put to the test when the wife decides to get sober.‘
Yikes, this wasn’t easy to watch, not at all.
As much as this is a film about alcoholism, it’s also about the roles we play in our social groups and how people react when you want to change that role. Whilst I’ve never smoked crack with a stranger or peed on the floor in Asda, I’ve done some stupid things when I’ve had too much to drink. Some of my friends love to crap on about That Time Hamster Was Drunk on the Tube, or That Time They Wouldn’t Let Hamster in to the Club, which is fine except those things happened circa 2003 and it’s not fine to keep banging on about them (also it’s not like they’ve never done anything dumb themselves after too many sav blancs). But they see me as the party loving twenty something I was when we met, not the person I am now. I don’t want to be the last girl standing. I don’t want to travel halfway across London to keep you company at a crappy loud bar. I want to sleep in my own bed, not on your sofa.
In Smashed, Kate’s decision to get sober challenges everyone around her and they don’t always act kindly to her. But ultimately this is a hopeful story, showing that you don’t have to play the role others have cast you in. Great cast, as well. 7/10.
Because people are awful.
This post comes on the back of spending much of the weekend trying to escape the noise of houseguests who somehow think our flat is Party Central.
I am not in a good mood.
21. Mistress America (2015)
‘A lonely college freshman’s life is turned upside-down by her impetuous, adventurous stepsister-to-be.‘
I don’t know why but I’ve tended to avoid Noah Boambach’s films. No, wait, I do know why. An egotistical actor I used to know told me ‘I simply must’ (and we know how much I love people doing that), also there’s something about Greta Gerwig that makes me want to punch myself and she seems to always be in his films. Which is really unfair cos a. She wasn’t in the single other film of his I’ve seen and b. she’s probably a lovely woman. I can be such dickhead sometimes.
Anyway, whilst I don’t think I loved this one, I really do like that Baumbach paints such unapologetically terrible people. The true awfulness of humanity, writ large for us to laugh at. It’s a bit like watching Chekhov: you’re watching a comedy but it’s dressed up as a drama so you don’t know of you’re meant to laugh or not.
Tracy, the ‘sister to be’, doesn’t intend to be a monster. Like Bernard in The Squid and the Whale, she thinks her behaviour is entirely reasonable. But then the other characters are dicks as well, she’s just slightly more dickish than the others.
I don’t know if Baumbach is making morality tales to teach us to be better humans, or if he’s just pointing and laughing at the human race.
I’m off back to my hermits lair now to hide from everyone. 7/10.
When I was at college, my film studies mates used to despair of me on a Friday when I dragged them to see crowd-pleasing blockbusters at the local Odeon. They couldn’t understand why I’d want to see the latest Steven Spielberg when the new Jim Jarmusch was on at the indie cinema down the road.
But Friday nights are for popcorn. Explosions. Movie stars. I want to watch something that entertains me, not something that makes me question my existence, or leaves me scratching my head.
20. Now You See Me 2 (2016)
‘The Four Horsemen resurface, and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.‘
My exact words when I finished watching this were “That was so stupid, I loved it” which pretty much tells you everything you need to know.
You do need to have seen the first one, though. I had to recap on wiki first. Great cast (I’ve decided Eisenberg is less annoying when he’s tempered by Harrelson, check out Zombieland for further proof of this), engaging romp, total rearrangement of London geography (turning me into a TFL wanker, eg ‘But the 63 bus doesn’t even go to Greenwich!’) and tricksy enough to keep you guessing. Perfect weekend fodder. 8/10
19. The Squid and The Whale (2005)
‘Follows two young boys dealing with their parents’ divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.‘
Whenever I see Jeff Daniels’ name on a poster, I know I’m in safe hands. He’s so watchable, even when it looks like he’s doing nothing (check out Pleasantville, it’ll break your heart).
He’s great in this – a total monster of ego, but never tips over into scenery chewing – you can tell that Bernard thinks his behaviour is not only reasonable, but totally normal: you find yourself (along with his family) bracing yourself for whatever bit of poison is going to come out of his mouth next. Glorious. The rest of the cast are great as ell (although whatever Billy Baldwin was doing really did puzzle me).
A detractor – one of the storylines featuring the 12 year old son made me profoundly uncomfortable (I know, that’s the point) – it took me out of the story as I was thinking about shooting it with a minor more than I was concentrating on the narrative.
It’s definitely worth seeing though – the towering ego that is Bernard Berkman has to be seen to be believed. 8/10.