The first three episodes of season 5 were nice, per usual, but also per usual did not elicit any particular emotional response or strong laughter from me.
My main takeaway from the premiere (saving their diner and all other businesses from being demolished for an IMAX based on them being historic) was have they always had fish on their cupcake shop's "genuine antique Tiffany" windows??
The second one was fairly entertaining, thanks to the change of scenery provided by their temporary jobs at the fancy gym's juice bar (where apparently you can get a job on the spot by either claiming you have experience, or having your friend who claimed to have experience get you hired without your knowledge) and Leslie Grossman, Mean Rich Mom In Residence. Plus Max's joy in having a ~magical shower~. She's cute when she has unbridled, childlike enthusiasm for things.
And then there's episode 3, which was apparently designed to punch us all in the soul bone because now Caroline, too, has lost her most promising love interest to marriage. Seeing Candy Andy again was not worth it! (listen, if I really need to see Candy Andy, I'll just watch "Bad Judge" again where he is basically the same person. Minus the candy) And as much as I wanted to love Max weeping over the loss of the Pure And True Love Of Andy and Caroline, it was played for laughs instead of the sort of genuine emotion one might see in season 1 or 2. Show, why are you the way that you are.
#continued despair that this show refuses to just RETOOL ITSELF ALREADY, ditch the diner and let the girls open a real cupcake shop for realsies that involves quitting the diner forever and only seeing their old coworkers as Special Guest Stars.
In other news, I watched a couple of pretty great movies (that made me sob a lot) on my one night off for the first fortnight of the month. The following reviews are spoiler-free, and/or use spoiler text.
I know this bombed, but I don't understand why. I mean, the sole reason I did not see it in theaters was that I didn't think I could tolerate Colin Farrell's hideous haircut that long, and that cannot be most people's reason.
Besides his gross hair (WHO DECIDED THAT. WHY.), which is made all the worse by the brief period in 2014 where it's long-ish and gorgeous, my only complaint (and it's a minor one) is that the bad guys --, consisting mainly of Will Smith as the devil and Russell Crowe as a demon servant with a terrible Irish? accent -- are oddly campy and over the top compared to how seriously the rest of the movie takes itself (albeit while capitalizing on love at first sight to the extreme). They're really fun in their own way, it's just a bit jarring of a contrast. And okay, it is more confusing than it needs to be in the beginning, not bothering to explain that the central conflict is demons vs. (subtle) angels.
But the rest is just...oh my gosh, it's breathtaking. This is the most beautiful movie I have seen in a long time, and because they got the casting right* the romance swept me away, and it turns out the romance isn't even the whole point. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
*according to Wikipedia, Elizabeth Olsen was one of the people who auditioned for the female lead. Tom Hiddleston auditioned for the male lead. Hahaha no.
A Partial List of Things I Loved
- The 1914 setting and the fabulously Victorian everything, including the beautiful mansion on the country estate
- The gorgeous white Andalusian stallion playing the magical guardian angel horse, and the beautiful barely-there translucent wings that burst forth when necessary
- Peter Lake galloping around on said horse a lot.
- Beverly and her gorgeous cascade of wild curls and very pragmatic approach to her inevitable death
- Beverly is so great she needs to be mentioned twice
- William Hurt
- Peter + Little Willa's instant approval of and attachment to him, featuring demands to be picked up and carried to bed.
- The A+ sensuality scene, which pushed my boundaries about as far as it's possible to go and still have me happily transfixed. I am almost 30 but you still have to ease me over the line from "gross" to "love," best accomplished by focusing on kissing alone with some nicely draped sheets.
- srsly Colin Farrell is so good at pulling off "unexpected romantic hero" roles. (remember Ondine?)
- All the pretty flashes of interconnecting light, and all the talk about stars and how we become them when we die
- The heartbreaking flashback to 1896, featuring: "HAS MATT BOMER ALWAYS BEEN THIS ATTRACTIVE??"
There are like 6 different things competing for "biggest turn-on" happening here.
(I can't believe he was only in 2 scenes. Why would you waste this! I want an entire second movie featuring this poor doctor's entire backstory, starting in the old country, highlighting his and his wife's perilous overseas journey, and possibly the heartbreaking return without their baby/whatever else you need for a plot)
- Did I mention how completely gorgeous everything was? The winter snow backdrop made for a lot of beauty, especially at night. I went back waaaay far on Tumblr's tags, because this is a movie SCREAMING for gifsets of its beauty, but I could only find a couple and they were focused on characters I did not want to focus on. Here's some of what I would like: Beverly, Beverly/Peter, the Angel Horse, the estate, the backdrop, and the shots of light/stars. And also a mixture of those things focusing on color palletes.
- A+ death scene + tears. I mean, awkward, with the half nakedness. But kind of brilliant that the fantasy/miracle of like we are all trained to expect from this kind of setup...doesn't work. She really dies. There is a graveyard scene. There's no coming back. (and I was already crying in the cemetery, but when the horse flew away and he went over the bridge, that was Round 1 of the hardcore sobbing)
- HIS FACE upon looking up the Penn family and seeing all the old photos, mainly Beverly
- Jennifer Connolly's character for just rolling with the punches at this point
- Grown-up Elderly Willa. Just everything about her, including throwing her arms open for a hug in imitation of how she used to ask him to pick her up.
- Saving the little girl. I'm not actually sure why she had to die at that point, since it seemed like she was already dying of the cancer and the point of the miracle was to magically cure that cancer...but you know, I'm not going to turn down a second opportunity to observe some artsily shot weeping/wee damsel rescuing
- THE LAST SCENE. That is exactly what I wanted to happen. I wish!
- (and at that point I went from round 2 of regular crying to round 2 of racking sobs, it was so poignant and overwhelming in its poignancy)
The Longest Ride
It makes my soul feel gross to admit to liking Nicholas Sparks movies, but gosh darn it, when he does the formula right and/or they cast everything right, it really works for me.
A Partial List of Things I Loved
- BRITT ROBERTSON. Obviously. She is 74% of the reason I wanted to see this movie. She is in her usual fantastic form, playing a character I adored on sight. I genuinely do not understand how she can be so vibrantly pretty, always full of screen charisma and even have a really distinctive and lovely voice.
- HER SORORITY BFF IS MELISSA BENOIST. I did not know that going in, and nearly perished of delight on the spot. I didn't know this, but this is all I have ever wanted to see on film. In my brain there are just endless stories of their adventures pre-movie.
- How adorable the both of them were decked out in cowboy hats, boots and rodeo-appropriate dresses. Even when the latter was stumbling around drunk as a skunk.
- The fact that there was more than one scene of them dressing up like this and attendning rodeos
- Scott Eastwood, who on the cover had a real bland "Liam Hemsworth Lite" look to him, but who turned out to be fetching as all get out, even though he was only on a horse in one scene. Dude can work a cowboy hat like nobody's business. Though it was really the whole Southern Gentleman thing he had going on that sold me, in the end.
- How lovely was their first-date picnic?
- How lovely was that montage of date scenes on the picturesque ranch?
- Barring any untoward scenes that may or may not have taken place in a shower, since I closed my eyes to anything gross and therefore it didn't happen, I really thought their whole relationship was great. Both smoldering and sweet. Her instant rapport with his mom was definitely a selling point.
- The many (many many) bull riding scenes, regardless of my suspicions that the way that rope is used for agitation makes bull riding is a jerk activity even though the bulls often get to dole out solid revenge, were nevertheless genuinely exciting
- Another one for the "am I secretly a dude" files: I was so on board with both Luke's "I think there's more BS here than where I work" response to the gallery and Ira's reaction to art basically being, "...yeah. Um. I like the fact that you like it?"
(no but really, unrealistic art that people pay more than $20 for makes me so irrationally angry)
- Jewel's "Till We Run Out of Road" played in my head pretty consistently during all these scenes
- I really liked Sophia's teasing friendship with Ira.
- Excuse me while I cry my eyes out at the thought of carrying around a box of letters between you and your now-deceased wife, long after you've been able to physically read them
- I reaaaaaally did not like the face of the guy playing 1940s!Ira, but in spite of that I thought it was a great love story.
The surprise visit from Daniel's wife was also a beautiful thing to behold.
And lastly...DID NOT EXPECT THAT ENDING TWIST.[a few spoilers for the regular ending]Like, clearly it was going to take a contrived miracle to make Sophia and Luke's relationship work in the long term, especially after he refused to quit bull riding, and between conquering Ranger and the final clause in the will that was some super contrivance indeed...but oh, how I loved it.
Those parting shots of her dressed up so prettily for her museum position, then riding home to the ranch? Oh yes, I started sobbing again, but this time in happiness.