For my spring break, I watched a lot of TV and movies.
On Monday, I decided to forgo all hopes of getting a head start on future assignments by binge-watching the newly released season of Judd Apatow’s Love.
That’s twelve 30-ish minute episodes; approximately six hours.
The second season of Love continues the unhinged, rocky romance between Gus (Paul Rust) and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs). Whereas the first season featured its two leads as deeply flawed, horrible characters who should in no way be together, the sophomore season softens its main pairing, making them more likable and easy to root for, rather than against. I found myself face-palming and “aww-ing” in equal measure over Gus and Mickey’s tumultuous relationship, and when I reached the finale at the end of my six-hour binge, I still wanted more.
Tuesday, I continued my descent into laziness by watching Imperium and Get Out, two films whose central premises revolves around race.
Imperium stars Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe as a different sort of wizard, an undercover white supremacist member. What makes Imperium unique and almost admirable is its willingness to tackle the rise of hate crimes and domestic terrorism cases from white supremacists. This movie attempts to dig deep into the psychology of white supremacy, recognizing that these unsettling acts of violence are being bred and nurtured rather than being the acts of “lone wolves.”
However, the movie flat-out sucks. Let’s just say I’m glad it was so cheap on Redbox.
Daniel Radcliffe lacks the intensity to pull off the unsettling mask of a white supremacist and his acting feels flat or unnatural (I suspect largely due to his use of an American accent).
Get Out, however, was a deeply satisfying film about racial discomfort. The film subtly critiques multiple issues such as white privilege, microagressions, cultural appropriation, and the faulty defense of “being blind to color/race.” I watched it in the fully packed Statesboro movie theater with my roommate. Watching this immensely clever screenplay on the big screen with an equally engrossed audience was one of the most enjoyable movie experiences of my life and a great way to spend my Spring Break.
I’m currently on a quest to watch all nine Best Picture nominees for this year’s Oscars, which lead to me watching Hidden Figures (not Hidden Fences!) on Wednesday. Despite the positive reception and early buzz, I actually wasn’t a huge fan of this movie. Although there were solid performances from the whole cast, I thought the film was too hesitant at times to examine race in an honest, thought-provoking manner, which makes sense considering the film was directed by a white man. There’s a certain amount of fan service that’s sprinkled throughout the film and it just wasn’t for me.
For Thursday, I decided to seek out the film where Viola Davis won her first Oscar. Fences, based on the play with of the same name, was a performance-heavy film carried by exceptional acting from the whole cast. However, I was admittedly a little bored midway through due to the minimalistic directing shown in the film. While the acting is top-notch, there’s very little movement with the camera, making it feel like someone simply filmed a stage reenactment of Fences rather than a film adaptation of the play.
I watched six out of the thirteen available episodes on Netflix right now, and so far it’s an extreme disappointment. For a series about a martial arts master and superhero, there’s fairly few fight scenes to be excited about. The fight scenes that are featured are a poor excuse, lacking decent choreography and relying too heavily on editing and close-up shots. What we do have is Arrow-redux: a story about a wealthy white man who returns to his billionaire company after being presumed dead. Daredevil dealt with Catholic guilt, Jessica Jones was on recovering from sexual abuse and trauma, and Luke Cage focused on reclaiming Black identity and history. Iron Fist has no special hook, making it the blandest and most disappointing of the Netflix-Marvel shows to date.