2019 Is The Year I Finally Started Understanding My Depression

Tuesday, December 31, 2019
The one good thing I can say about 2019 is that I finally started understanding my depression for the first time. I started going to therapy again, and I talked about my pain for the very first time. There's still work that needs to be done, and continuous work that I'll probably have to do, but the first time I put crack the wall that's been holding me in and, that is a very big deal for me.

What really helped was I started writing about it. I never could write about it in a traditional journal, but then I started this site, and I think the act of knowing somebody would read it, and it wouldn't be hidden away helped. I also started writing about it in other styles. I wrote about it in a "Modern Love" essay type piece and a Twilight Zone-inspired short story. I'm still working on those pieces, and I kind of want to do something with them once they're completed, but I don't know what yet.

Here's to 2020, and hopefully a better me.

The Best Movies I Saw in 2019

This was a pretty good year for smaller movies, despite the dominance of blockbusters. And I can say I saw multiple movies by female directors this year, which is not something you can usually say. My movie diet this year was also pretty varied by genre, as well. I saw horror, horror-comedy, superhero, different kinds of family drama, strippers scamming, and a murder mystery.

Obviously, this is only taking from the movies I saw this year, which wasn't everything. But, these are the ones that I really enjoyed and will most likely watch again.

Greta Gerwig's Little Women Is The Best Adaptation Yet

Thursday, December 26, 2019
Honestly, I knew nothing about Little Women until the trailer for this adaptation dropped a few months ago. I knew that several versions of the movie had been made, because I love watching TCM and they would pop up on the schedule, especially around Christmas. I would try to watch the 1933 and 1949 ones, but they were bad. Not an "I can't watch classic movies thing"; they were bad.

I didn't know the 1994 film adaptation existed until this year, and before I picked up the book to read myself, I watched that version. Yes, I spoiled the book for myself but I wanted to watch a movie and it was on Netflix at the time, so I put it on. It was the first adaptation of Little Women that was written and directed by women. And it was nice. It was a touch too sentimental for me, and after reading the book, it was a bit too sentimental for the book, too.

This was honestly the best adaptation of Little Women. All of these other adaptations focused on Jo, to the detriment at the other sisters' screen time and development as characters and people. They were much more weighted, especially Amy, long considered the worst sister. Florence Pugh is wonderful as Amy, and allows her humanity to break through, especially when she's a child and burning the manuscript. Amy progresses from just wanting to be included in society and wealth to understanding her place in a world where marriage to a wealthy man is the only was for her to be financially successful. Emma Watson is great as Meg, the oldest sister who marries for love, but does love being able to be in high society and have a bit more than she had as a kid. And I can't say enough about Saoirse Ronan as an actress. She embraced all of Jo's flaws, because as much as she is a hero in this story, she is human and she can be stubborn. I feel like that trait is only expressed in a good light, and it's rarely been explored as anything other than that.

Of course, none of that would be possible without Greta Gerwig. After this and Lady Bird, I will see any movie she makes. Her biggest gamble was how she restructured the narrative, and it paid off. Equal screen time was given to their adult lives for the first time, which makes it the truest adaptation, because their's equal weight in the book. The parallels or entry points to each timeline she finds are truly brilliant, and the puzzle that she had to put together to make this happen is extraordinary. 

Stan Culture Needs to Die

Thursday, December 19, 2019
I hate stan culture. It is the very definition of the phrase 'too much'. Whatever it is can do no wrong and they will attack you if you disagree. Whatever they stand for is the best in the field, and they will not hear any further argument about the merit of their work or the work of others. If you piss them off, it can be vicious.

I think Star Wars fans are the epitome of stan culture.

Where to begin? Bullied Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran off of social media. Someone edits the women characters out of all of the movies, and it's not to prove a point about the dearth of female characters in them, or the improvement in terms of sheer numbers in the newest trilogy. They won't let go of their hate for The Last Jedi for "ruining" Star Wars, even though a) it's been two years, move on, b) it examined and critiqued the Star Wars mythos effectively, c) the throne room battle with Rey and Kylo Ren, and d) was one the best Star Wars movies ever, so deal with it. (Also, Rian Johnson is an excellent filmmaker, and everyone should see Knives Out.)

By bringing up this extreme example of stans, healthy criticism of art, especially art you love, is going by the way side. I love reading film, music, and television criticism. It helps me understand the art better, discover elements that I missed, and it helps me get a fuller picture. It can either strengthen my case for why I like it, no matter if the review is positive or negative, or make me change my mind about it and enlighten me. So I think these 'stans' should really invest their time in reading multiple critics and perhaps writing out their own review and join the discourse properly, and not just harass people for not agreeing with them.

Remember, if you disagree with the reviewer, don't attack them. You can agree to disagree on a few things in life.

The Masked Singer Is The Most Insane Thing That's Been Allowed on TV And I Love It

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
The Masked Singer is ridiculous. B- and C-list celebrities (just in terms of how much they are covered in entertainment press, not how much people love them) put on weird costumes and participate in an American Idol like singing competition, without the public vote because it's all pre-taped. Honestly, that's probably a way for the celebrities who only have a limited time window to compete and they can send them home, or promise the celebrities competing who can't sing that they won't be embarrassed. People will recognize that they did it for a laugh.

Some celebrities do it for the timing of the publicity when they have a project coming out, like they would for any kind of television appearance. Some do it to remind the public of who they are. Seal did this season because his kids loved the first season and he thought it would be cool to do.

A few contestants have been open to how their confidence in their abilities were low and they needed to be reminded without the baggage of being a public figure whose history is well known.

I don't care that it's probably fixed in some way, mainly in the early weeks. It's fluffy and light, and it's nice to watch a show that you don't have to pay attention to plot and character. You get to turn that part of your brain off a bit, and we need that in our television diet.

Victor Oladipo in a Thingamajig costume is singing a heartfelt Kacey Musgraves ballad! What's not to love?

Earworm: Lianne La Havas' Blood

Saturday, December 14, 2019
This album has been out for four years and it's still in constant rotation for me.

It's very ethereal. That's not to say that there's no substance to the music. A lot of times I think artists are aiming for that ethereal feeling, so the production on their songs is super light and airy, and there's no real depth to it. For Blood, there is actual weight to the songs.

The opening track, "Unstoppable", is a love song that is not the typical love song. It's my favorite kind of love song, and that's about the feeling a love, which is different from the usual because most songs, no matter how general or specific it is, is about a person. It's an epic of a song.

Two of my favorite songs on this album, "Midnight" and "Tokyo", both deal with being alone. "Midnight" is a celebration of being alone, and having adventures that no one will know about. "Tokyo" is definitely more about loneliness, and would fit in with Lost in Translation.

It just fills you up when you listen to it. And that's really what you want when listening to an album in full.

Haven't Watched Anything Christmas Related Yet

Thursday, December 12, 2019
We are 12 days into Christmas season (heehee), and I haven't watched anything Christmas related yet. I don't know why yet. I guess I'm just not in the mood for the Christmas spirit yet. Usually I at least put a Christmas thing on, but when I hover over one that's available on a streaming platform, I go 'eh', and pick something else.

But today I'm going to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party so hopefully the Disney Magic can get me in the mood. Before the drive over I may put on one of the Mickey Mouse Christmas movies to prime me for tonight.

Bookshelf: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Friday, December 6, 2019
My sister recommended this book to me because she read Carmen Maria Machado's story inspired by Law & Order: SVU called "Especially Heinous". Not long after that, it was announced that FX was going to adapt this collection into an anthology series. Then I bought it and it say unread on my shelf for over a year because I stopped reading but didn't stop buying books. I started rectifying that over the summer, and finally made my way back to this book.

This is the first short story collection I have ever purchased, and the first short stories I've read outside of an educational setting. So that's just been cool, reading different kinds of fiction, nice to vary up my reading diet.

The stories themselves are heavy in genre metaphor, and it will probably take me a couple more reads before I fully understand them, and maybe finding some smart people who are professional critics to read their thoughts. But I'm willing to do that work to understand, because on a surface level they are fantastic genre stories, and I know they are more than that, and I'm interested in learning. And I think people need to read more stories where they have to figure out the metaphor, whether it's by themselves or by listening to others. That will just make you a better reader.

My favorite stories in this collection: "The Husband Stitch", "Real Women Have Bodies", and "The Resident"

You can find more of Carmen Maria Machado's writing here.

Purple Is The Best Color (It Also Happens To Be My Favorite, But I'm Not Biased)

Thursday, December 5, 2019
The best color of all time is purple and it's been my favorite color for as long as I knew what colors were. All I wore was purple. If I couldn't wear purple, I would wear colors close to it like red and pink. My childhood bedroom was purple. I named my first fish purple. People have said my eyes look purple sometimes. I love purple. I don't know how this obsession started, but I'm okay because I'm right. Purple is the best.

For me it's the color that screams warmth the most, because I also am not a fan of the color orange. Too gregarious for me. My wardrobe is most accurately described as 'dark mode'. I would like more purple in my wardrobe as an adult, but it's hard to find actual purple clothes. And that makes me sad, because deep purples, kind of like an eggplant or wine shade, are really flattering with my skin tone.

It also feels like a great in between of 'girly-girl' and 'tomboy', which shouldn't be a definer for people because you like what you like, and you can be more than one thing. I digress. I was kind of both growing up. I played sports and, once I actually started caring about my appearance, I got really interested in style. It can be used in a really nice floral print, or go with my combat boots.  

I just recently invested in a fancier template for this blog, and literally the first thing I changed was the font color to purple.

My love will never die.

I Want More Heist and Whodunnit Movies

Monday, December 2, 2019
With Knives Out coming out this year and Ocean's 8 coming out last year, it really got me thinking about my favorite whodunnits and heists, and I could barely count to ten. Which is a shame because when done well, they are exhilarating. The twists and turns! The successful heists and murderers revealed! Cheers all around!

I get that these movies are very hard to pull off. The script needs to be tight. All the twists and turns that you love need to be seeded properly in the script or make sense in a big reveal montage, and not make it feel like the writer couldn't come up with an ending and pulled something out of left field.

Also, these movies tend to be mid-budget movies, which are being wiped out by all of these big blockbusters, a lot of which are fine at best. But those blockbusters make a profit, especially overseas for studios. They are sure bets, whereas some the some smaller movies that aren't for a mass audience are a risk and, no matter the quality of the movie, may lose money for the studio.

As much as I love the Avengers movies and some of the big blockbusters, it was nice to see a big ensemble movie with no CG1 armies to fight, and the world wasn't about to end.

But looking at the success of Knives Out, it can be done, and should be done more.

Earworm: "Christmas Time is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas

Sunday, December 1, 2019
Every year at Christmastime, this song is immediately on repeat in my head. In my imagination, I'm walking down a street while this is playing in the background and it feels like Christmas. Ironic that a melancholy song is what helps me get the spirit.

I also just love A Charlie Brown Christmas. It's probably my favorite holiday special, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, because that was my favorite as a kid. I don't get super enthusiastic about things; that's just not how I express myself. So this is right up my alley.

It's also a classic, so if you don't know it, you should.

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