If you've ever read this blog, had at least one conversation with me, read my Twitter, or seen me from across the room, chances are you understand what a big part of my life pop culture is. It dominates most of my conversations, and it's safe to say that at least 80 percent of my friendships grew out of similar interests in TV shows, movies, or music. I don't think I could ever date a guy who didn't have good taste or care about pop culture at all, and any guy who does try to date me is forever competing with my one true love of television. It's all very healthy, I swear.
So, after saying that I would do this for too long and constantly boring people with rants about whatever I'm watching at the end of outfit posts, I finally decided that it was time to dedicate posts specifically to this obsession of mine. If you're just here for fashion, feel free to skip these, but for anyone who does care, I'll be sharing my recommendations and what I'm into at the moment every other week. There are a million other things I could have added to this first one (it killed me to take out "Last Week Tonight," "Silicon Valley," and "Orange is the New Black" at the last minute), but I'm sticking with these for now. Rest assured, I'm going to force all of my opinions on you all eventually. I also have a strong love for minimalist entertainment art, so I'll be sharing some of that as well. I hope you get inspired to watch/read/listen to something new, and if you have any questions about the things I've written about or just want another recommendation, feel free to email me at email@example.com. And without further ado, here's what I'm into at the moment:
Credit: Raquel Segal
(Season Four Spoiler Free) We all knew I was going to talk about "Game of Thrones" first, right? It would be a crime against humanity to write about anything else before it. It is by far the best show on the air in my opinion, and it is the only TV show to come close to filling the "Breaking Bad" shaped hole in my heart. It's pretty amazing the most talked about show on the air is fantasy epic, especially considering how rare it is to see anything in the realm of sci-fi or fantasy find mass success on television. This season was particularly good, complete with some of the most satisfying deaths to occur on the show. I think part of "GoT's" appeal is its ability to shock you even when you know that it's trying to shock you. Even after Ned Stark and the Red Wedding taught us to expect deaths of main characters, nothing could prepare those of of us who didn't read the books for the biggest reveals this season. In addition to at least three shocking deaths of main characters, it also revealed that a relatively minor character has actually been the single most influential character on the show. That alone can be considered more shocking than an eye gauging, though maybe not quite as horrifying.
This season also gets extra points for providing the Internet with two of the best odd couple pairings ever. I could watch entire spinoffs of Arya and the Hound or Brienne and Podrick for days.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" was just released on DVD, which means that using "it's not playing at any theaters near me" as an excuse is no longer acceptable for not seeing it. Wes Anderson is my favorite director (he's tied 'with the Coen brothers), so I might be a tad biased considering he can do no wrong in my eyes. Fortunately, "Grand Budapest" more than lives up to its predecessors in quality and sheer delight. Anderson has this incredible quality of making each of his movies feel familiar and alike, but completely unique. "Grand Budapest" has that same whimsical feel and imagery as his other films, but it is entirely its own movie. The usual suspects (Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Tild Swinton, etc.) all make appearances and the pacing is similar to his other films, however the premise is completely original. This one has a little more adventure, a tad more excitement, and lot more blood than his other movies, and it may just break my top five. (For anyone wondering, that would be 1. "The Royal Tenenbaums" 2. "The Life Aquatic" 3. "Rushmore" 4. "Moonrise Kingdom" 5. "The Darjeeling Limited".)
Credit: Rob O'Connor
Ever since last fall, I've really been enjoying reading comics and graphic novels. Let me back up. Many of my close friends are dude,s and to say that they're all nerds would be an understatement. For years, I've silently sat with them as they discussed video games, comic books, and anime, but for some reason it took me until recently to actually start listening. I'm still just starting to get into it, having only read most of a couple of series, but I can't stop thinking about the one I most recently read, "Saga." It's essentially if Romeo and Juliet were from two different races in the middle of an intergalactic war and went on an epic space travel to attempt to keep their daughter safe. The story is beautiful and suspenseful, especially since it's narrated by the daughter from the future, and the artwork is just gorgeous. My only complaint is that I have to wait until later this year for the next volume.
I was originally going to include "Veep" on this week's list since it's one of my favorite comedies on the air. But when I finally got around to watching "Enough Said," last year's film from Nicole Holofcener, it hit me that it only made sense to just take a moment to recognize what a national treasure Julia Louis-Dreyfus is. She will obviously always be praised for her work as Elaine on "Seinfeld," but she went on to do something that pretty much no one else on "Seinfeld" has done since the show aired: she got better. On "Veep," (which just finished its terrific third season last week), she plays Vice President Selina Meyer who walks into a room with all of the confidence in the world, but almost no self-awareness. She manages to go back in forth between putting on her political face of fake niceness when she's in public and being brutally honest and controlling when she's with her team. And even though I missed "Enough Said" when it first came out, the fantastic quiet movie still had an affect on me from the small screen. In a movie that boasts James Gandolfini's last performance (who can't be denied was absolutely wonderful), it's still difficult not to focus on Louis-Dreyfus. She has this way of being confident and outspoken, but not without flaw. She's completely relatable, and you always want her to be you cool aunt or your best friend's mom who always takes care of you and tells it like it is.
Credit: Wetcloud Media
It's honestly been in a while since I picked up a show during its first or second season. I tend to be pretty cynical and just assume that most new shows will get canceled, so when I start a new show, it's usually one on Netflix that ended its run years ago. However, I finally read enough things about how great "Orphan Black" was, and since the promise of a sci-fi show on TV that might actually be successful intrigued me, I decided to give it a try. I watched through the first season in a matter of days a few months ago, and after watching the second season week to week (which just ended on Saturday), I can honestly say it's by far one of my favorite shows on the air. At times it makes no sense, and every so often it's difficult not to have that same "Lost" feeling of "do these showrunners have any idea where they're going with this?" but it's all worth it. There are clones, mystery, gore, jokes, and strong female and gay characters. Sure, most of the strong female characters are played by one actress, but that's the show's main selling point. If you watch this show for one reason, watch it for the lead actress, Tatiana Maslany. She plays multiple clones, effortlessly sliding from one personality to another in each scene (sometimes in the same scene), and she is a force to be reckoned with. She is absolutely captivating on screen, and I imagine it won't be long until her name gracing Oscar ballots.
Credit: Captain Fantastic
It's difficult to have a discussion about the show "Louie" without it turning into a discussion about the man Louie. Louis CK's FX show defies genre barriers (is it a comedy? A drama? An art project?), but one thing is for sure — it's one of the most interesting things on television. Louis CK has been one of my favorite comedians for years now, and I honestly believe he is the very best working stand-up comedian at this moment in time, so his show is one of the few that I've been watching since the very beginning. The problem with writing about it (read any article about his show, and you'll see that the writer struggles to define it) is that it's almost impossible to describe. And because of that, you can finish an episode or a season not entirely knowing how you feel about it. Was it good? Did any of it make sense? What exactly was he trying to accomplish? Watching "Louie" is like staring at a piece of modern art that you don't quite get, but for some reason you like it. "Louie" is more ambitious than any other show on TV, and this season specifically was more ambitious than the previous three. CK (who writes, directs, edits, and stars in the show) took a year off between seasons to be able to create something he was proud of, and the result was essentially three short films spread across the length of a TV season. Whether you agree with the "So Did the Fat Lady" speech or the attempted rape scene, it can't be denied that he opened up the floor for many conversations about how plus-size women and rape are handled in the media, and in a way that has never been done before. I'm not sure how or why, but I think Louis CK may be a genius.
And now, some kickass female singers: my new obsession, Imaginary Cities, and ultimate girl crush Jenny Lewis' new song.