Lazy Sunday Binge Watch: Feminism Documentaries

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On Friday, my husband and I were both feeling under the weather, and spent most of the day in the living room watching documentaries and cuddling with our two adorable cats. It’s probably kind of weird that we watch so many documentaries, but it’s definitely evidence that we’re meant for each other!

Two that we watched on Friday were related, and were both amazing! I’m going to talk about both of them today, because I loved them both so much! They were both very informative, inspiring, and a little sad.

The first one we watched was called She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry. It’s about second-wave feminism in the United States. They talk to many of the women who were leaders in the movement, which was incredible! It was so awesome to be able to hear about the women’s liberation movement from the voices of women who were actually a part of it.

One of the coolest things about the movie was seeing footage from the time, not just of some of the protests and speeches, but also footage of the press and how they talked about the movement. It made me mad, because there were news stories where the reporters were really rude. It made me thankful that I wasn’t alive back then. It was also interesting learning about the women’s liberation movement and the role the civil rights movement and anti-war movement played. Those movements worked together because they tended to have quite a bit in common.

The most heartbreaking part was when they were discussing Roe v Wade, and the way things worked beforehand. One woman talked about how she had a friend from high school who only made it a few months into college and died because she had an unsafe abortion. The role that access to birth control and healthcare for women is so important. This movie made it clear that it’s not something to take for granted. It’s part of the reason that women now are able to have careers and plan their lives. It was a good reminder that access to healthcare, family planning, and birth control is still something that we’re fighting for here, and its importance shouldn’t be forgotten.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry can currently be streamed on Netflix.

The second film we watched was Miss Representation. This film was a good complement to She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, but it took more of a modern focus on media portrayals of women and how it affects not just adults, but also children. This film was made by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who is the wife of Gavin Newsom, the current Lieutenant Governor of California. She is an actress, who has become a filmmaker and activist, drawing attention to how the media affects both males and females.

Miss Representation talked to politicians, actresses, youth, activists, journalists, and others about the role that media plays in the lives of women and young girls. They discuss many topics, including how women journalists wear revealing clothes, like they are on screen as decoration, rather than as professionals informing the public.

They also discuss the film industry, and how there are not many women protagonists or directors. This is especially unfortunate since women make up 51% of the American population. They bring up an interesting point: women will watch movies and shows about men, but, in general, men will not watch movies or shows about women. This is really strange to me, and I’m not quite sure why it’s the case. That would explain why there are not as many female protagonists, however: it seems that the industry doesn’t think there is much of a market for it. That is starting to change, slowly.

One of the coolest things about this movie was that there were a couple different generations talking about the same issue. It’s cool to see the different perspectives and experiences, since they are so similar and yet also very different. Gloria Steinem, who has been working on this cause for a long time has been through different life experiences than a high school student, but both perspectives are important. It was also cool because the movie discusses how this issue affects men, which is important and interesting. A lot of time is spent discussing how the media’s portrayal of women affects females. And rightfully so. But, it’s important to note that this issue also affects boys and men. It not only impacts how they view the women around them, but also distorts their view of the way the world operates. I find this to be extremely interesting.

Miss Representation is also available for streaming on Netflix.

I think that both of these movies are a good pick for anyone wanting to learn more about the women’s liberation movement or feminism. They are also good movies for people who are knowledgeable about feminism and media’s portrayal of women because they both give great examples and food for thought.

Let’s chat! What’s the best movie you’ve seen lately?

Lazy Sunday Binge Watch: The X-Files

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Today is the day that X-Files fans have been waiting for: the premiere of the new season is tonight! In preparation for the new season, my husband and I have been watching the important episodes to understand the X-Files mythology. We also watched the two movies. So, in honor of the new season, X-Files is my pick this week for Lazy Sunday binge watching!

X-Files started in 1993, and was a really successful show. I remember my family watching it when I was a kid, though I didn’t usually watch it with them. I usually thought it was too scary and was not interested in it, but there are some parts of the show that bring back memories of being a kid. While it was on tv, it benefitted from being a generally well-made and entertaining show, that kept peoples’ interest for almost 10 years. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it follows two FBI agents, as they work through cases considered part of the “x-files”, which are unsolved cases with paranormal aspects. Agent Fox Mulder, played by David Duchovny, is more of a believer in the paranormal, and thinks that there are things like aliens out there that have been to Earth. Agent Dana Scully, played by Gillian Anderson, is a skeptic who is assigned to work with Agent Mulder and discredit his work and theories. Over the course of the years, and all of the weird things they encounter, she becomes less of a skeptic, but in some ways, he becomes more of one.

This show is generally pretty dark, handling many story lines involving murders. It is often considered a thriller, and I definitely agree with that! There have been quite a few times where I have had to stop watching the show long before bed because it got a little scary. There have also been quite a few episodes that are riotously funny too, which is a great balance to the scary and dark episodes. This show can be hit-or-miss though when it comes to writing. There are tons of episodes that are really well written. There are episodes that definitely miss the mark, though. It seems to get worse in the later seasons.

There are two X-Files movies as well. I don’t really think that either of them are very well-written. The second one is cool because it takes place after the original run of the show ended, so we are able to see what happens to Agents Mulder and Scully after the show. It’s just not a great concept for a movie. It was also written during the writer’s strike in 2007-2008. So, that helps explain why it was so poorly written, though I don’t think that it would be a fantastic movie if it had been written when the Writers Guild of America wasn’t on strike.

I think that X-Files is a good show for people who like mysteries and thrillers. I don’t generally love thrillers, but the stories in this show are interesting enough to make it worth getting a little scared. If you are interested in watching the show, I would honestly suggest looking for lists of the best episodes online and watching those. Being able to watch the “greatest hits” is definitely worth it, and is a great way to be introduced to the show. The entire show is available to watch on Netflix. The movies are not streaming on Netflix right now, but we were able to get the first one from Netflix’s DVD service, and the second one was available through our library!

Hopefully the new season will be well-written and a great way to continue the story. I am anxiously waiting to watch it! Have a great week everybody!

Lazy Sunday Binge Watch: Property Brothers

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Well, winter has finally hit in full force here in Minnesota. Through Christmas and the New Year the weather was pretty mild. We didn’t get a ton of snow at that point. Now, however, we’ve finally gotten a coating of snow, and it’s cold. I always seem to get sick around this time of year. My job brings me in contact with lots of people on a daily basis, and no matter how often I wash my hands and use hand sanitizer, I manage to get sick. A few days ago, a couple people were complaining about having a cold, and sure enough, now I have a cold! It’s slowly getting better, which is awesome, but I’m pretty bummed out to be sick just in time for the weekend…

One thing about this cold is that I have had the hardest time concentrating! Writing blog posts has been taking me twice as long because I just don’t want to focus on them. Reading is out of the question. So, it’s the perfect opportunity for me to catch up on episodes of today’s binge watch pick: Property Brothers. It doesn’t require much thought, but it’s still entertaining and even educational!

Property Brothers is an HGTV show that you can currently watch on Netflix! It’s a reality home improvement show about two twin brothers, one who is a realtor, and the other who is a contractor. Each episode, they have a client looking to buy a new home. They always have pretty specific wish lists. The brothers bring them to a house that is move-in ready and has all of their “must have” items. After the people see the house and love it, they drop the bomb: the house is totally out of their budget! Sometimes, the house costs double what their budget is! It’s a tough love thing to do, but the point they are trying to make is that the client will need to get a fixer upper house, and renovate it. That way, they will be able to get the house they want, but they will also be able to say within their budget. It’s interesting how the couple reacts with the icky houses they go see. Then, when they decide between two houses and the design that goes along with them, you get to watch the renovation, along with all of the problems and unforeseen complications! But, in the end, you get to see beautiful finished products that seem like they were worth the extra time.

I love home improvement shows, even though I live in an apartment and can’t really use them. There are some really fun decorating tips though. This one is nice because it does kind of go into what to look for when buying a house. There is also some good information on how to get high end looking houses while being able to work inside a budget.

I recommend this show for people who like DIY or home improvement shows. I also think this show would be good for people who are thinking about moving or renovating. Netflix has a couple seasons of episodes, so I hope you check it out!

Let’s chat! Do you watch home improvement shows? What do you like about them? Any recommendations of things I should watch?

Lazy Sunday Binge Watch: Angel

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I have been waiting to write this binge watch post for a long time! But, I wasn’t able to write it until I was done with the series, so I am finally done, and I can finally talk about it! Yesterday, my husband and I watched the series finale of Angel, which we have been watching for over a year!

Angel is a spinoff show of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It is a show created by Joss Whedon, who also created Buffy, along with Firefly, Dollhouse, amongst others. He also wrote the most recent Avengers movie. It is essentially about a vampire who has a soul and spends his life trying to help the helpless, with the assistance of his friends. It is an action-packed show, which is really fun and interesting to watch. There are also times that it is sad and anger-inducing. As the show progresses through its five seasons, the story changes and evolves.

The final season is especially interesting. It is full of emotional highs and lows, and has a thought-provoking plot. There are some points that are absolutely hilarious, and more people who were on Buffy come onto the show, which is fun for those of us who watched it. There are some parts in the final season that are so heartbreaking, it actually brought me to tears (not at all surprising, I cry during shows and movies frequently). One thing to know about Joss Whedon is that he tends to kill off characters. It’s almost an ongoing joke about his work, because it happens so frequently. It makes it hard to watch sometimes, but after watching the whole series of Angel, it was a really good show, and I guess most of the deaths were justified or good for the story.

Angel is a great show to watch for people who have seen Buffy or other things that Joss Whedon has done. I would also recommend it for people who like show that are full of action and some sci-fi/fantasy elements. There are story lines involving the occult, vampires, demons, etc. So, if you can’t handle those kinds of topics, this is probably not the show for you. If you’re interested in giving Angel a try, the entire series is available of Netflix. Have you seen Angel or any other Joss Whedon show/movie? Tell me your thoughts in the comments! Have a great week!

Lazy Sunday Binge Watch: Love Actually

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Happy Sunday, everyone!

I have been busy getting ready for the holiday season! I have been really stumped on what to give some of my family members for Christmas, but I’m slowly starting to figure it out. I do this to myself every year… I should just think about it and prepare months in advance, and then things wouldn’t seem so hectic come December. Maybe. There’s always something to do.

Yesterday, I spend the afternoon with a friend of mine at her house. We planned on watching Christmas movies and filling out our Christmas cards. We put out snacks, put on Love Actually, got our cards ready (she has twice as many to fill out as I do!), and… watched the movie. And chatted. After the movie was over, we put on Gilmore Girls, and chatted about the show. It was such a fun day! But, I only finished one card… So… looks like I will need to work on that more!

For today’s Lazy Sunday Binge Watch, I am picking Love Actually! The funny thing about it is that I was going to talk about it anyway, but now it’s extra fresh in my memory.

Love Actually is a movie that takes place in London around Christmas. It follows multiple story lines, which fit together like puzzle pieces. Each story line includes a love story of some sort. Some relationships work out, some don’t. Some involve kids, widowers, cheaters, and people with barriers making it difficult for their feelings to be expressed. In the end, some of the stories have happy endings, and some of them don’t, which I really like because it’s more realistic than if everyone got exactly what they wanted, without consequence.

The really awesome thing about this movie is that there are tons of well known actors and actresses in it. This includes Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Keira Knightly, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, and Billy Bob Thornton. It makes it fun to watch the movie, because there are so many well-known people in it. It’s fun to pick people out and get surprised when someone new comes on the screen.

I recently came across a Buzzfeed article discussing the fact that Love Actually is not a good movie. There are some points made in the article that I think are fair, but definitely not all of them. There are some one-dimensional and misogynistic characters, which isn’t fun to watch, but it’s fairly realistic. Many of us know that guy who thinks that he is God’s gift to women, and thinks that he deserves a woman and blames women when he is single. It’s not the type of man that I would want to spend my time with, but they are, unfortunately, not a rare breed. There is also the fact that one of the characters makes a move on his best friend’s new wife. I agree with Buzzfeed that he shouldn’t do that, because if he liked her and wanted to act on it, he probably should have done so before the wedding, rather than after. I think that the way he did it was pretty cute (his confession written on cards: “To me, you are perfect.”, though his intention in doing that was less to be cute and more to avoid a fight with his friend, who was in the other room.

Perhaps, despite all of those (and other) reasons that the “love” stories in this movie aren’t that great, that is why I like this movie. The stories are messy. They are full of cheaters, misunderstandings, bad intentions, poor timing, and life circumstances, which make the stories less like a fairy tale, and more like the difficult situations people encounter. Is it believable that a british man would fly to Wisconsin, meet 3 beautiful girls in the bar who are all interested in him, have two other cute friends, and it works out for him? No. Is it realistic that someone would go to France to get away from his cheating girlfriend, only to fall in love with the housekeeper, who does not speak English or any other language he could possibly use to communicate with her? And then, have them both learn the others language so that he can surprise her at work with a marriage proposal? Not really. Is it, however, realistic that a husband would have an emotional affair with his assistant at work, and his wife finds out? Yes. That happens all the time. So, of course there are parts of the movie that are weird and not really realistic. But there are others that hit close to home for some people. Besides, aren’t most romantic comedies pretty hard to believe? That’s part of what makes them fun to watch.

Love Actually is not a movie for everyone. If you like romantic comedies, you will probably like this movie. It’s not the most Christmas-y movie, but it is set during the Christmas season.

Let’s chat! What is your favorite Christmas movie? Have you seen Love Actually? Do you love it or hate it? Do you have a favorite story line?

Lazy Sunday Binge Watch: Worst Cooks in America

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When I was in college, I used to fall asleep to shows on Food Network. I actually learned quite a bit about cooking from watching those shows, which was really valuable for me. Now, the only way I watch shows from Food Network is when they’re available on Netflix. I was so happy to see that they added Worst Cooks in America. It’s fun to see new and different shows added to Netflix, because then there are more unique things to watch.

Worst Cooks in America is a reality competition show where people “audition”, showcasing their cooking. The seasons on Netflix have Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell choosing the people that are the worst cooks in the country, splitting them in two teams, and having everyone compete to see who improves the most. Throughout the show, the contestants learn necessary kitchen skills and learn how to make restaurant-quality food. Every week, the worst performer on each team is sent home.

I don’t normally like reality tv. Or reality competition shows. I do appreciate, though, that this show teaches the contestants relevant and useful skills. People who start off by making terribly unsuccessful omelettes and vanilla fried chicken learn how to make pan sauces and perfect pork chops. They learn what kinds of ingredients work well together. They learn how to work within time constraints. The finalists cook a meal for 3 famous chefs, and the winner gets $25,000.

This show is really entertaining, because you get to watch people try to learn how to cook, while making some really questionable cooking choices. The commentary of chefs Flay and Burrell adds even more humor. There are definitely some cringe-worthy moments in the show, but it’s so exciting when things go well!

There are times when I’m not sure that I like that the whole point of the show is to make fun of people who didn’t learn how to cook, but they mostly understand that they are really bad at it, and so they add to the jokes. No one really takes themselves too seriously, though they are disappointed when they do not do well in a challenge.

This show is perfect for people who love cooking shows and reality competitions. This show is not for people who get squeamish watching cooking shows (people cut themselves, meat is accidentally served raw, and there is some mild butchering (nothing too bad though).

Have you ever seen this show? What’s your favorite cooking show? Let me know in the comments!

Lazy Sunday Binge Watch: Pitch Perfect

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If you don’t already follow Anna Kendrick on Twitter, I highly recommend it! She’s sarcastic, funny, and she writes so many things that you would expect from the “average” woman, not a Hollywood celebrity. It makes me respect her so much!

If you want to follow me on Twitter (I am not as funny as Anna Kendrick, but still), you can get to my twitter account by clicking the bird at the top of the page, or by going here.

In honor of the awesomeness that is Anna Kendrick, and the tweet above about her Netflix habits (binge watching!), today’s pick for Lazy Sunday Binge Watch is Pitch Perfect.

Note: I have not yet seen the second one. I am pretty slow in catching new movies, because I really don’t like going to movie theaters. I think they’re expensive, and most of the time I get motion sick, so it’s pretty pointless. But, I digress. Let’s get to talking about Pitch Perfect!

Recently, there seems to have been a huge trend in shows and movies about Glee Clubs and acapella groups (obviously made popular by the show “Glee”). For some reason, I like Pitch Perfect the most. There are quite a few reasons why I really enjoy watching it (over and over again).

First, it’s hilarious. The character “Fat Amy”, played by Rebel Wilson is just amazing. I think most of you know how I feel about fat shaming, so having a character named “Fat Amy” would normally not be something I would appreciate. However, this is addressed early on in the movie, when she is asked why she goes by that name. She states that she calls herself fat so that no one else can. While I am not sure that I agree with her logic, I do like that she is one of the best characters (not just the funny one). Along those lines, I think that this movie does a pretty good job of having diversity. Definitely not as much as I wish they would (the male acapella group does not have many men of color, especially not ones with speaking lines). The women, however, are really diverse, not just racially, but also in body shapes. They are not all stick thin, blonde and supermodel beautiful. Some of them are short, some of them are somewhat awkward. The vision of the acapella group is that they have that “perfect” look: all thin, beautiful, etc, but they end up desperately recruiting a rag-tag group of women who end up working really well together.

Secondly, this movie never really takes itself too seriously. Even the “serious” parts are funny and charming. There are some gross teen comedy parts (mostly involving vomit), which I think are a little over the top. Even though this movie does have a moral (mostly a “don’t judge a book by its cover” lesson), it gets to that point with plenty of laughs along the way.

I also love Anna Kendrick’s character, Beca. She has that outsider, misfit attitude. She basically only joins the acapella group so that her dad will allow her to work at the college radio station (which is what she wants to do for a career). She loves music, and loves making mashups of songs, which ends up coming in handy for the group, even though her suggestions for how to change their tired routine comes with some opposition. She is especially sarcastic and witty (just like Kendrick is in real life). She meets a boy named Jesse (played by Skylar Astin) who becomes a part of their rival all-male acapella group. He obviously likes her, and she obviously doesn’t really want to give him the time of day, but just like every other teen romantic comedy, this turns out just the way we want it to. On an interesting side note, Skylar Astin ended up dating fellow co-star Anna Camp!

Finally, the music is really fun. It really should be, since it’s basically all about music and performing acapella versions of songs, but some of the songs are so catchy! One song in the movie that is not a cover is “Cups”, performed by Anna Kendrick. It was actually played all the time on the radio the summer that the movie came out. Kendrick is a really good singer, and for some reason that was really surprising to me. The whole song isn’t in the movie, so you should go find it if you haven’t heard it. Such a fun song!

I’m sure a lot of you have seen the movie, since it was so popular when it came out. If you’re looking for a fun movie to pass the time with, however, this is a great choice! Let me know what you think in the comments! And, have a great week!