July 2015 In Review (Movies, TV, Games)

July held the end of everyday work schedules and the beginning of my days of lounging at my sister’s house in a wifi- and waiting-induced coma. I’ve watched stuff, I’ve read stuff, I’ve played stuff. I’ve rediscovered my love of going to the movies (and then re-rediscovered the fact that even though I love going to the movies, it’s really really hard to get through a terrible movie. *Cough Insurgent cough*.

Anyways. Here’s the wrap-up.

Movies I watched this month:

Divergent– Ok, I just want to get one thing straight: I’m not a movie snob. Let’s get another thing straight: that sentence was a lie, but not a complete one. The thing is, it really doesn’t take much for me to ‘like’ a movie. Attractive people? Interesting-ish story? Dialogue that could pass for human speech? We’re in business. So when I say I ‘liked’ Divergent, to the movie snobs out there *cough Xander cough* it doesn’t mean I thought it was a good movie. It wasn’t. The book? Even worse. When you start off by sectioning the people into world into Categories and then making the main character part of the Category that is Unique, with the name as a literal synonym for different (*whispers Divergent*), you know you’re not in store for any good literature here. Have you read The Giver? Have you read The Hunger Games? Have you read Uglies? Have you read The Maze Runner? Have you read Insert YA Dystopian Here? Then you’ve read Divergent. There’s really no surprise here, it’s all the same, you can move on without losing a big part of your life. Hell, if I tell you the main characters names here (Four and Katniss-no-I-mean-Triss) you can probably hold lengthy conversations with Divergent fans without them noticing.

That being said, the movie was alright. I liked it. It had action sequences, it had CGI that wasn’t terrible, it had Kate Winslet being a BAMF in a businesswoman suit. It had a forgettable main character who was, let’s be real, less angsty than Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games. It was nice. See it if you want, don’t see it if you don’t want. You’re not missing anything, but your eyes won’t be gouged out by the Gods of Movies Quality if you happen to catch it on HBO Now.

(I also saw Insurgent this month at the Dollar Theater in order to escape the oppressive heat of my non-A/C car, but decided to not include its picture or full review because I almost walked out in the middle of it. It was truly terrible, and there is no other way to approach it.)

(By the way, I can no longer read YA Dystopian because of this SNL skit, which is as close to a perfect representation of my thoughts as any I have ever seen:)

Jurassic World– Walker and I saw this in theaters earlier this month, and I don’t have much to say about it. I liked it, I don’t remember a whole lot of the original series (I may have only seen the first one? And I think that was in sixth grade in Tech Lab class when we weren’t allowed to go into the Tech Lab?) This one was cute. Yes, I’m using that adjective to talk about vicious escaped enemy dinosaurs killing and wreaking havoc on an unsuspecting population. Super cute, even. I liked Chris Pratt, even though he was about as one dimensional of a character as could be. I liked Bryce Dallas Howard, even though she ran around in heels for the entirety of the movie. I actually liked that she was a businesswoman at first and “turned into a family woman” at the end, as some reviews were saying. So often in action movies, it’s the man who gets a character arc and the lady who is the same helpless pile of Gucci suit that she was at the beginning. Yes, she looked to Chris Pratt to save her. He’s a dinosaur trainer, guys. She works in, what, the marketing/tech department at a theme park? I’d be getting him to save my ass too. That’s what he does. It’s refreshing (ish?) to see the man be the one with zero growth, who’s just as durhhh manly guy durrhhh as he started off at the beginning of

Inside Out – 5 stars. Three thumbs way up. I laughed, I cried, I cried, I cried, I mostly cried… I’ve seen almost nothing but positive reviews for this, so let me just add to the pile: I loved this movie. I’ve never seen a more emotionally honest children’s film. And ok, maybe that’s cheating, because it’s literally about emotions anthropomorphized into quirky Pixar adorableness, but it’s just. It’s so good. The way they talk about depression, and happiness, and the need for emotional balance, and the way emotions can be both good and bad, and family and etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. I just loved it. Watch it. You’ll love it. Or you’re a heartless heathen with no soul. Then you’ll at least think it’s pretty.

Tomorrowland- saw this at the Dollar Theater with Walker on our movie day (we saw this first, then Max Max. Thankfully that was the exact right order to see them in…) Walker thought it was just ok, and I agree somewhat– it’s nothing special as far as movies go. Some of the writing is clunky, the acting, while cute, is sometimes hokey, the moral hits you over the head about a dozen times before being actually said out loud by one of the characters… And yet, I liked it. Quite a lot. It was

Mad Max Fury Road- This was, and I want to be very clear about this, the most. stressful. cinema. experience. of. my. life. This includes that time in middle school where I walked into Saw IV on accident right as someone was falling into a pit of needles for no apparent reason other than, oh I don’t know, to make the audience projectile vomit more money at the franchise. Having not seen the other Mad Max films, I had no idea what to expect, but this movie was just gore+action+gore+grit+gore+gross stuff+ a little bit of heart. Like a Disney film, but take away everything happy about it and put the rest of it into a blender with a few rusty cars.

See? It was so stressful I can’t even write about it. That being said, I did… enjoy it? I guess? I did, by the end I was definitely invested in the characters and I was satisfied at the triumphant ending. But the journey there? Never again. Never again I say.

Let’s Be Cops- This was… a movie. That I watched. Walker and I watched it together, after having already seen Tomorrowland and Mad Max and drinking. Maybe it was the drink, but I liked it. I wasn’t in love with it, obviously. It was at times slow as hell (which is weird, considering the whole time I was just waiting for them to get thrown into a federal prison for impersonating police officers and generally being big dumb morons…) But it was cute. I would suggest it for: people who can’t handle anything else stressful because their brains are too filled with cortisol after seeing Mad Max, but also don’t want to see Adventure Time for the tenth time because what babies do that? And also they wouldn’t load. I mean. What.

TV I watched this month:

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-Over the Garden Wall– This show is bonkersssssss. BONKERS I SAY. The basic premise is two brothers get lost in the woods, and while trying to find their way back they meet a host of weird and possibly-magical characters. (For example, a talking bluebird that used to be a human girl, a town of pumpkin-headed people, and a creepy as hell woodsman who may or may not be murdering people.) Sounds pretty fairy tale standard, right? WRONG-O. Everything in this show is a non-sequitur, every character has quirks that come out of nowhere that you weren’t expecting, and you can really never tell when someone will break into song. (My favorite so far is Potatoes and Molasses. No, it doesn’t make much more sense in context.)


Suggested for: Steven Universe fans

-Bravest Warriors– Made by some of the Adventure Time creative team, Bravest Warriors is Adventure Time for adults. (Well, at least not-for-kids, since I know more adult AT fans than kid ones. Ok. You get it.) The Bravest Warriors are a team of crime fighting bffs that inherited their parents’ jobs of defending the universe from all kinds of space crazies. It’s adorable, it’s beautifully animated, it’s weird as hell. It’s FIVE STARS ALL AROUND.

Games

Monument Valley– this iPad game is so beautiful. I finished it right before I watched Inside Out, actually, sitting in a Applebee’s by myself and solving the final puzzle was probably the most gratifying, relaxing, zen-like experience that has ever been had in an Applebee’s. This game is a series of M.C. Escher-inspired logic puzzles presented to the main character Ada on her quest to… achieve enlightenment? The actual endgame is a little confusing, though the end sequence tells a very interesting and beautiful visual story that wraps up the game in a fairly satisfying package. Recommended for: Dad. And anybody else that likes Escher, or logic, or beautiful graphics, or zen-like gameplay. Just play it.

Candy Crush -I know, I hate myself too. Sometimes when I have tired myself out but can’t fall asleep, or when I’m listening to an audiobook but don’t have anything else to occupy my hands, or when I’m… ok look, I just like these games. They’re stress relieving. And no, I don’t send invites or pay for extra lives. That’s just embarrassing.

Book wrap-up coming soon! I know you’re on pins and needles waiting for it.

-W

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