Some TV and Movies I Enjoyed this Year
This is simply a list of some stuff I watched and enjoyed this year. Not all of it obviously. Just some of the few I can remember – and wanted to share.
You’ve probably seen some of these already but hopefully there’s some new things for you to discover – or somethings to remember and rewatch?
This is the story of a couple as well as two individuals trying to realise who exactly they are. It starts with them being interviewed for some women’s magazine. They come across as a very normal but very solid couple. And we watch as they break apart despite loving and desiring the each other.
It’s a lot of talk. But it’s interesting talk – despite the male lead’s character being totally self-involved. So if a lot of talk and much action is not your thing this may not be for you. But it’s really well done. I normally don’t watch stuff like this but it’s really good.
I found this review you might enjoy reading.
Warning: The issue of abortion comes up and I think it could be upsetting for some.
I watched the first three seasons of this a few years ago. Right after having watched a few seasons of Underbelly. Each different Underbelly season covers a different real-life criminal saga from Australia. Although I think one of the seasons is set in New Zealand. Anyway, Underbelly is really interesting and entertaining. And kind of a great run into Rake which centres on a lawyer whose moral code is … very adaptable?
This year I discovered the last two seasons of this. It’s very funny. A lot happens. From start to finish of this. It’s a great satire of the way things work. It’s offensive. If you are offended by that clip there, definitely avoid this at all costs. If not, you’re in for a treat.
OK. If Rake is offensive, how to describe Altes Geld? Well, it’s not offensive exactly.*
It’s just … Also it’s the story of a very messed up family – which couldn’t have existed in reality.
This is a dark comedy from Austria. I’m not going to tell you anymore about it. You watch it, slightly shocked, but laughing. If you’re in the mood to laugh at nasty daftness, this is for you.
Here is a link to the trailer (it’s just a little too rude to put on a food blog)
*Correction: This is highly offensive. I thought this was too absurd to be offensive. I realise I may have got that wrong. I’ll leave this here for the moment. If you’re offended let me know because I don’t want to offend anyone – tweet me @thewayimakeitis When I’m not feeling the best dark comedy is something I enjoy so I’m leaving this here for others – unless you tell me it’s offensive. – I’m watching a review of some film called Neo Ned that’s why I’m adding this now.
The Good Fight is a spin-off series of The Good Wife. It’s a little more off the wall than The Good Wife but I think they do that to allow them comment on current events without getting into trouble. So Memo 618 isn’t a thing in the real world but it’s used to make the obvious point that money often buys freedom.
I watched season 4 this year. And I loved the first episode where Diane dreams that Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election. Diane’s really delighted – obviously. But then the #metoo movement hasn’t happened because … well, watch it. It’s well done.
Am I saying I’d like Trump to win this election? NO!!! Please if you’re American, reading this, and you’ve not voted yet, and you can, please vote for Joe Biden. If you need a reason why … Look, I really don’t understand how after four years of Trump anyone would consider voting for him. But if you want a reason I’ll give you a simple, and hopefully a non-divisive reason. Remember the sharpie incident? He is a man who will lie, very obviously, about inconsequential things. He can’t admit that he is wrong, or that things are not how he said they would be. That is the behaviour of someone who is incapable of leading others through a crisis. You need a different president. Please vote for Joe Biden.
But that first episode of season four was kinda encouraging. It may not be accurate. I think the #metoo movement was going to happen anyway. But still … it’s a nice way to look at things. And the season is a fun watch. The Jeffrey Epstein stuff is a bit strange – but it’s good.
I had already heard the true story of Dirty John when it was a popular podcast. I hadn’t listened to the podcast. But I’d heard a really complete synopsis of it. And to be honest I didn’t think it was that captivating a story.
I just clicked on this one day – because I’d already watched everything else. And I then binge-watched it over the course of two days. Including while I was getting the NCT done. Felt like the fastest NCT ever.
What I loved about that this was that the female characters were far from perfect, so believable, but still basically decent people just making their way through things. I particularly liked the character of Veronica Newell. She comes across, at first, as a judgemental and selfish bee. The kind of horrible two-dimensional woman you often see as the villain in comedies and teen or kids movies. But then you see she’s actually just very determined that people treat her and those connected to her right. That’s a very recognisable woman who you meet in real life but you never see on screen. So I loved that.
And the story was much more interesting than I realised.
Would you like some tears with your laughter? This is funny but also really sweet. And parts of it will make you cry.
A man is driving a piano across Australia. He crashes into a young girl, driving a truck, who is running away. She ends up persuading/forcing him to take her with him so she can visit her mother. A lot happens along the way and you get to see what has brought them to where they are now – mostly lost in the middle of nowhere.
Secrets and lies are being revealed. And the bodies are piling up. This is made-for-bingeing TV at its most consumable. I really enjoyed it. Gulped it down.
I generally find these types of shows too over-the-top to watch. But this one (I’ve only seen the first season so far) was just right.
Actually Happy Valley is another great crime series. If you’re looking for more criminal bingeing.
This isn’t a perfect documentary. It could do with editing it to make the story flow better. But the story itself is intriguing. To be honest, I’d really like to see this as drama – or inspiring some totally fictional story. Or have more involvement and interviews with Sonja Farak. You want to know more about what her life was like then and now. The whole idea of someone working in a state drug testing laboratory who is getting completely banjaxed, at work, on what she’s testing and sampling is fascinating. It’s also tragic and sad. But … yeah I just found the story really interesting.
The clip above was the only one I could find with English subtitles. It shows how good the dialogue is. But it doesn’t give you a good idea of what the movie is like. Le Corbeau is about a doctor in a small French village who becomes the target of poison pen letters. The story is similar, but different, to one of the Miss Marple mysteries. This film is kind of like an Agatha Christie directed by a more sombre Hitchcock. It’s really good. The twists at the end though – I almost feel there’s one too many.
This one is so unexpected. A young son of an ambassador is left mostly to the care of the servants. The butler is good with children and tells the boy lots of entertaining stories and doesn’t shoo him away like most of the adults do. The butler’s wife, who also manages the house, is a cold harsh woman who is not good with children or her husband. But there is a sweet pretty secretary at the embassy who is much warmer.
I think it’s actually best if you watch this one without knowing too much about it. Because one of the things that’s great about this film is that you can’t tell what going to happen next. Which is very unusual for movies from that time.
I almost feel bad showing you the trailer or linking to the IMDB page because they give too much away. I watched this having no idea of the story and at points I really felt a lot of tension about what was going to happen next.
If you want an unusual thriller/horror that moves quickly in ways you wouldn’t expect and is quietly unnerving – and darkly funny in parts, then this is the movie for you. It’s great.
I’m not going to say too much about the plot. I think the makers leave it completely up to the viewer how to interpret this. Personally, I saw it as a comment on how, if you’re not aware of the danger, bigotry and selfish pleasure seeking can steal its way into your life and destroy everything you hold dear. But also that trying to stamp out these tendencies with blunt brutal denial rather than some attempt at understanding what’s causing it, tend to help their spread rather than contain them. I don’t know if that’s how it’s supposed to be taken – but I thought it was great.
But even if you don’t see any of that sort of commentary in it, it’s still a good story. Very different.
And there are shots that mimic a painting that I just thought were really well done.
Newton is a man who doesn’t get it and doesn’t want to. He’s going to do what he sees as right and his duty despite how others react. Working as an election official he is sent to a conflict ridden part of India to oversee the voting there. It’s really good. I may talk about this in a different post. It makes some good points about the fundamentals that need to be established before real democracy can be achieved. It’s not heavy though. It’s quite funny and quirky – and not in an annoying way.
This is just so much fun. And it’s really well done. Yeah, it’s just a good action-filled running-for-your-life type of movie. Great. Clever. Really enjoyed it.
In China a grandmother is dying of cancer but hasn’t been informed of the diagnosis for fear it will cause her to go downhill more quickly. Her children and their families have emigrated to America and Japan some time ago. The family arranges a wedding for the Japanese grandson to have an excuse for the whole family to visit the grandmother without her getting wise to what is going on. The American granddaughter was not going to brought on the trip because she’s too much of a straight shooter. The family are worried the grandmother will find out from her.
This has all the feels. It’s funny but it’s so sweet too. And I really really loved the very end of it. It’s great. And also a more everyday look at Chinese culture.
A great tense horror-thriller. Again just a good entertaining movie. Really enjoyed it.
I watched the original 1933 version after this. Should have waited a while. I couldn’t get into it at all. It starts out quite interesting but it ends up very mawkish. Also it’s all about the invisible man more so than his victims.
This is so good. It’s about guy who gets thrown out of law school for cheating. The punishment seems excessive. You have a lot of sympathy for him, even though obviously he has done something wrong. He’s beholden to this family who have helped him pay for college – and he fancies the daughter of that family. He then gets a job with a internet PR firm where he is paid to sow, or fabricate negative stories about people or groups. He is very good at this. But still, I anyway felt a fair amount of sympathy for him – for a while.
This is really good. I think this might be my favourite film of the year. And I really really enjoyed the others too.