For What It's Worth

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Whatever Wednesday: Movie Time

I’ve been watching more movies that reading. The Tiny Terrors seem to be quieter in the evening but I still can’t focus enough to read at that point.

So here are a few that Kevin and I watched, and several movies my friend and I have watched for our weekly, virtual *date nights*.

Rocketman – included with Amazon Prime Video ~ I had read Elton John’s autobiography, Me, just last week so this was interesting to compare the two. Rocketman follows John’s life starting from childhood through to his years of addiction and then rehab.
Although not based on the book, it covered similar territory but the movie consolidated a lot of his life and blended several separate events into one. It also left out a lot of major things like the inspiration for his going to rehab – the death of Ryan White from AIDS. But there’s no way you can cover so many things in a movie so it’s fine.

The movie was more of a musical/fantasy with over-the top surreal detours and it was an absolutely perfect way to reflect the artists personality. Such a unique and fun  biopic!

Never Have I Ever – Netflix ~ This is a coming of age comedy-drama about Indian American girl Devi Vishwakumar. Lots of YA-ish drama with grief, family, friends, boys and culture. I watched it (virtually) with a friend and we were kind of eh…at first (Devi truly likes to learn things the hard way) but were totally hooked by the 3 episode and binge watched the series in two days. It’s funny, frustrating and heartbreaking.

My Spy – included with Amazon Prime Video ~ A hardened CIA operative JJ (Dave Bautista) has is tasked with surveilling a mom and her 9 year old daughter, Sophie. Sophie blows their cover and blackmails JJ into teaching her to be a spy. Hilarity ensues. This was sort of over-the-top ridiculousness but also really cute.

What Men Want – included with Amazon Prime Video ~ This is a gender swapped remake of What Women Want. Not great and s kind of rushed ending but still quite a few laughs. 

Guns Akimbo – included with Amazon Prime Video ~ Daniel Radcliff is Miles, a mild mannered man with a horrible boss, pining away for his maybe girlfriend, Nova, and is a part time troll – spouting off angry, offensive things on Skizm –  a live streaming game where real people literally fight to the death while people watch and comment.

Then one night Miles gets a visit by a gang that attaches guns to his hands and tosses him into the game to kill Nix – the top player.

Pure adrenaline shoot em up movie. I guess it’s trying to say something about online culture and trolls but it’s really just a mindless gore. If you like this sort of thing (& I do lol) it was fun. 

What are you all watching (besides Hamilton - which I have not seen - lol)?

Monday, July 6, 2020

My Monday Musings…

Housebreaking TWO puppies (with bad habits to break) is no joke!! I’m so tired lol

We are coming along though. I have a schedule including 2 hours of nap time – also called  Mom’s sanity recovery hours. They have cured my insomnia though!

But look at their little faces – worth it.

This was Ripley’s first adventure out in public since we got her. She had Parvo and needed one more vaccine before she could start adventuring. We had been taking Kai on walks by the water so I could work with him and hopefully get him relaxed before adding her to the mix. They both came to me unsocialized but are doing so good! And moving along way faster than expected.

As you can tell from the picture – he is polite and sweet, likes long walks on the beach. She is inquisitive and goes all out – throwing herself off the back of the couch to catch Kai in a game of chase.

Reading…yikes. It’s been hard to find time. Even audio is a struggle because I have to listen for trouble brewing and chase puppies all day.

I’ve started a few that I can listen to when I get out for errands.

These are in progress…

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates ~ Goodreads Narrated by Coates as a letter to his 15 year old son to answer the questions about what it was like to grow up as an African American male in pursuit of the American Dream and violence done the African American body through history and today.

It’s a little stream of consciousness but powerful about the things that have changed and the things (that sadly) stay the same and the hope a father has for his son’s future.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson ~ Goodreads I’m about half-way and Liz (and her super cute interactions with her crush on the new girl Mack) is the awkward, anxiety riddled, overachieving band girl running for prom queen - with a heart of gold heroine you root for. 

It’s also tackling a lot of subjects – Liz is a Black, queer teen in an elite, mostly white school where she doesn’t ever quite fit. Watching her navigate the different groups and grow her self confidence is a real treat.

This is the fluffy feel good summer read you need in your life right now!

Here are a few books I hope to get to in July!

I've also been watching a lot of movies and I'll have a post for those up later this week! What have you all been up to? Have you been able to get in any (socially distanced) summer fun in?

Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday minis…

I put the puppies down for a nap in their crates and have a rare, blissful moment of silence lol
I got a lot of reading in before they arrived but I don’t have time to blog now. Here’s a quick rundown of the books I read pre-puppy blizzard.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson ~ Goodreads

Gorgeous memoir. Johnson's essays (although it never really feels like a series of essay's) on living in the US as a queer, Black man is honest, raw, informative, funny, bittersweet, heartbreaking, loving and inspiring.

“Navigating in a space that questions your humanity isn’t really living at all. It’s existing. We all deserve more than just the ability to exist.”

This is a must read for readers of all ages and backgrounds but especially queer and Black boys. There's a lot of pain and trauma in his life but also a wonderful, large supportive family and fraternity that's rarely portrayed in this way. 

CW: All content warnings are given at the beginning of the book but include: sexual assault (described on page), death, cancer, physical assault, use of homophobic/racial slurs as it relates to the authors lived experiences.

Me by Elton John ~ Goodreads

I was a little disappointed that Elton John wasn’t narrating the audiobook at first (he does the foreword and afterword) but Taron Egerton (who played John in the movie Rocketman) was fantastic. Very conversational and animated.

Me covers his early career with a veritable who’s who of rock royalty, his childhood all the way to adulthood, coming out as gay, marriage and children.

There’s a lot of pain and loss in his life and it’s remarkable that he was able to come out the other side while so many of his friends have not. He was refreshingly honest about his wild days and mistakes while not being salacious or tarnishing others.

He does seem to still posses a bit of a narcissist streak with tantrum tendencies so he’s probably still a work in progress. Aren’t we all - but this was really interesting. (Thanks to A Book A Week for the rec)

Clap When you Land by Elizabeth Acevedo ~ Goodreads

The only thing bad about an Elizabeth Acevedo book is that it has to end and I have to wait a year for the next one. 

Clap When You Land is told in the alternating pov’s (& in novel –verse) of two young women – Yahira in NYC and Camino in the Dominican Republic – unknowingly tied together by one mans death.

Acevedo touches on so many subjects in her books and writes such powerful girls. They are knocked down by life but never out. Family is also a theme. And in this case family comes with major flaws but was written so beautifully and with nuance.

She doesn't give away too much in the blurb so I'll leave it at that.

Read Clap When You Land – read all her books! And on audio if you can!!! Acevedo's narration is perfection. Although there are two narrators for this one.

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer ~ Goodreads 

This was a clear off my TBR cart and buddy read with Lindsi from Do You Dog Ear read (her review here

This was my first book by Kemmerer and it wasn’t quite what I was hoping but overall I did like it. Juliet leaves letters to her dead mother at her grave while Declan, on probation mowing the cemetery’s lawn, finds one of the letters and responds after feeling connected to the words of loss and grief.
They begin writing to each other and pouring their hearts out. In the meantime – they unknowingly interact at school and really dislike each other.

There is so much that is left unsaid and a lot of miscommunication between these two so while they are supportive in letters – they (especially Juliet) could be really judgmental in person. It could be irritating to watch but I liked how their letters sort of transferred over to real life and made them both consider their actions and do better over the course of the book. Declan with his temper and starting to believe in himself and her with her actions towards her dad and panic attacks.

Juliet’s relationship with her father is strained as she idolized her jet setting, war photographer mother but I liked how it played out. I didn't love how convoluted the story got to get to that point. Kemmerer kind of detoured into a mystery about the cause of the moms death that felt unnecessary.

Declan’s situation was abusive and I hated how it was resolved. His mother was negligent, at best, and his step father was cruel and it was sort of played off in the end as oooh we were just worried about you and things are better now that we had this chat. I felt it was so bad that if I were to encounter them in real life, I would have called child protective services or help him get emancipated.

This didn’t 100% connect with me but would recommend it to readers who like messy, complicated characters and books that explore grief.

And I really want to read book #2 about Declan's best friend, Rev.